Glucagon has been isolated from the pancreas of Torpedo marmorata, an elasmobranchian cartilaginous fish, and purified to homogeneity using only reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. Amino acid sequence analysis indicates that the molecule differs from mammalian glucagon at position 3 (glutamic acid for glutamine), position 16 (asparagine for serine), and position 20 (lysine for glutamine). Extracts of T. marmorata intestine and brain were associated with glucagon-like immunoreactivity determined by radioimmunoassay using antisera directed against the C-terminal and N-terminal to central regions of porcine glucagon. Although elasmobranchian and teleostean fish are believed to have diverged from the main line of vertebrate evolution at about the same time, the structure of two glucagons from the teleost, Lophius americanus (anglerfish) differ from mammalian glucagon by seven and nine residues. This study supports the assertion that the structure of glucagon has been highly conserved during evolution and suggests that the considerable morphological development of the pancreas is teleosts was associated with an accelerated rate of molecular evolution.