Five putative chitin synthesis inhibitors (CSI) were tested to determine if they inhibited nucleoside incorporation into acid precipitable material in a cell line from Manduca sexta (L.). The results varied. Diflubenzuron (DFB) (100 micron) inhibited cytidine incorporation by 38%; EL-494 (100 micron) inhibited adenosine incorporation by 43%; Bay Sir 8514 (100 micron) inhibited uridine incorporation by 24%. Superdiflubenzuron (100 micron) was the worst inhibitor overall (18-22%) for the benzoylphenyl urea CSI. The triazine CSI, CGA 19255, was the best inhibitor tested with 60% inhibition for cytidine and 49% for adenosine incorporation into DNA and RNA. Examination of cells incubated with diflubenzuron by scanning electron microscopy revealed distinct external morphological changes. Transmission electron microscopy showed that crystalline structures accumulated in the cytoplasm of cells treated with DFB. The crystalline structures were assumed to be diflubenzuron and they persisted even after diflubenzuron was removed from the medium.