The detailed distribution of somatostatinergic neurons and fibre tracts in the brain of larval lamprey was studied in serially sectioned material using immunocytochemical techniques. Neurons were found to be arranged in four nuclei: a hypothalamic nucleus consisting of both small cerebrospinal fluid-contacting neurons and larger non-contacting neurons, a thalamomesencephalic nucleus and two isthmotrigeminal reticular nuclei. The hypothalamic nucleus is the first to differentiate. Analysis of young larvae showed that somatostatin-immunoreactivity first appeared in hypothalamic cells (12 mm larvae), while it appeared later in the other nuclei. The different somatostatin-immunoreactive fibre tracts innervate different regions of the brain. In addition, somatostatin-immunoreactive fibres originating from hypothalamic neurons were found in the anterior neurohypophysis, which suggests the presence of a hypothalamohypophysial somatostatinergic system in lampreys.