Abstract HPLC allowed separation of twelve major labeled compounds after injection of 3H-ecdysone into Pieris pharate pupae. These compounds were identified as six pairs of metabolites (3α and 3β epimers), comprising ecdysone, 20-hydroxyecdysone, 26-hydroxyecdysone, 20,26-dihydroxy-ecdysone and the polar metabolites P and 20-hydroxy-P. These last two products could not be enzymatically split by any hydrolase tested and are weak acids arising respectively from 26-hydroxyecdysone and 20,26-dihydroxyecdysone. They might be 26-oic compounds. Epimerization appears as a fundamental inactivation process in Pieris and could well be a general characteristic of closed systems (eggs and pupae). No significant amounts of hydrolyzable conjugates were detected in our biological system (pharate pupae and pupae).