Abstract The participation of endocytosis in the formation of Triton-filled lysosomes was followed after injecting Triton WR 1339 simultaneously with colloidal gold or horseradish peroxidase. According to cytomorphometric measurements Triton WR 1339 also significantly enhances autophagy. The analysis of the influence of Triton WR 1339 subfractions shows that autophagy is only augmented by the polymer component (‘macrotriton’) but not by the low molecular component (‘microtriton’) alone. When the latter was injected combined with either macrotriton or colloidal gold particles, autophagy increased to a level observed with Triton WR 1339 and beyond the levels determined for either component alone. Thus, autophagy appears to be stimulated by endocytosis. Autolysosomes are transformed within a few hours to peribiliary ‘dense bodies’. These do not display any significant turnover rate within a period of several days; therefore, dense bodies could be prelabelled with colloidal gold in order to show that they are the target organelles ingesting (macro-)Triton. According to difference spectra autophagy leads to a considerable concentration of microsomal and mitochondria! cytochromes in (macro-)Triton-filled lysosomes far beyond the level detected in ‘normal’ lysosomes. Because of the participation of both hetero- and autophagy in the formation of Triton WR 1339-filled lysosomes they have to be classified as telolysosomes.