Animals display stereotyped behavioral modifications during development, but little is known about how genes and neural circuits are regulated to turn on/off behaviors. Here we report that Drosophila neuropeptide F (dNPF), a human NPY homolog, coordinates larval behavioral changes during development. The brain expression of npf is high in larvae attracted to food, whereas its downregulation coincides with the onset of behaviors of older larvae, including food aversion, hypermobility, and cooperative burrowing. Loss of dNPF signaling in young transgenic larvae led to the premature display of behavioral phenotypes associated with older larvae. Conversely, dNPF overexpression in older larvae prolonged feeding, and suppressed hypermobility and cooperative burrowing behaviors. The dNPF system provides a new paradigm for studying the central control of cooperative behavior.