Previous work has shown that attachment of Vibrio harveyi to chitin is specific and involves at least two chitin-binding peptides. However, the roles and regulation of these chitin-binding peptides in attachment are still unclear. Here we show that preincubation with the oligomeric sugars composing chitin stimulated chitinase activity, cellular attachment to chitin, and production of chitin-binding peptides. One of these peptides, a 53-kDa peptide, is produced constitutively and appears to mediate initial attachment to chitin. Synthesis of another peptide, a 150-kDa chitin-binding peptide, is induced by chitin and thus may be involved in time-dependent attachment. Coordinated regulation of attachment and degradation of chitin may give bacteria like V. harveyi a selective advantage over other bacteria in nutrient-poor aquatic environments.