Gap junction (GJ) endocytosis appears to be part of a cycle of GJ renewal in horizontal cells of the teleost fish retina. At least three stages of GJ endocytosis in these neurons have been identified using conventional electron microscopy (EM): invagination of GJ membranes (GJ blebs); free GJ vesicles; and GJ vesicle fusion with mature lysosomes (Vaughan & Lasater, 1990a). In the present study, EM-level acid phosphatase (AP) histochemistry of white bass retina was used to determine at what stage enzymatic degradation of endocytosed GJs begins. Electron-dense AP reaction product was observed within the trans face of the Golgi apparatus, mature lysosomes, and occasional, internal GJ vesicles. In contrast, GJ blebs, peripheral GJ vesicles, and most internal GJ vesicles lacked AP reaction product. These results support the idea that at least some of the GJ vesicles observed within these retinal neurons arise from endocytosis, are on a degradative pathway, and can be termed GJ "endosomes." Furthermore, GJ vesicles appear to be initially free of AP, but some later acquire it (presumably from transport vesicles bearing degradative enzymes). It is still unclear whether our previous report of GJ vesicle fusion with mature lysosomes is a subsequent step in GJ degradation or part of a different degradative pathway altogether.