High concentrations of PGE(2) and PGF(2alpha) were identified by radio-immunoassay (RIA) and/or gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) in the hemolymph, salivary glands and saliva of the lone star tick Amblyomma americanum (L.). Binding studies indicated that PGE(2) was free and not bound to any proteins in the hemolymph. A small amount of 6-keto-PGF(1alpha) (breakdown product of PGI(2); prostacyclin) was also found in the salivary glands but not in the hemolymph or saliva. Neither PGD(2) nor PGA(2)/B(2) was detected in any tick material investigated. Although PGE(2) was found in the gut contents, only small amounts of label crossed the gut into the hemolymph during artificial feeding with labeled PGE(2), indicating that the high amounts of PGE(2) in hemolymph and salivary glands are not sequestered from the host blood meal. Isolated salivary glands and salivary gland homogenates demonstrated robust synthesis of PGE(2) at high concentrations of exogenous arachidonic acid. Synthesis by the salivary glands was monitored by measuring increasing PGE(2) with increasing arachidonic acid by RIA, GC/MS and labeled PGE(2) in the presence of labeled arachidonic acid. Synthesis was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by indomethacin indicating that the cyclooxygenase synthesizing prostaglandins in ticks shares similarities to the enzyme found in mammals.