The synthesis of juvenile hormone III (JH III) by the isolated corpora allata (CA) of Aedes aegypti adult female was studied using an in vitro radiochemical assay. We dissected the corpora allata-corpora cardiaca (CA-CC) complex attached to a piece of aorta. The complex was left connected to the intact head capsule to facilitate the visualization and transfer of the glands. A linear increase in the cumulative amount of biosynthesized JH III was found for at least the first 6 h of incubation; approximately 45% of the synthesized JH III was present in the medium. There was a dependence of JH III synthesis on exogenous methionine supply. Using reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography two major labeled products biosynthesized by the CA were separated. They co-migrated with JH III and methyl farnesoate (MF). The identity of the biosynthesized JH III was confirmed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. JH III synthesis was only 2.0 fmol/pair gland/h immediately after adult emergence, but increased to 32.6 fmol/ pair gland/h 18 h later in sugar-fed females. Two days after emergence, the CA biosynthetic activity slowly started to decrease, and reached values of around 5.3 fmol/pair gland/h by one week after emergence. Synthesis of JH was similar from either sugar-fed females mated or unmated. A blood meal resulted in a decrease of JH III synthesis in CA from mated females by 12 h after feeding and from virgin females by 24 h after feeding. JH III biosynthesis remained low for at least 96 h in mated females, but was back to higher levels 72 h after feeding in virgin females. Rates of JH III biosynthesis closely reflected the hemolymph levels of JH III both after emergence and after a blood meal described by Shapiro et al. (1986). The activity of the CA in Aedes aegypti females seems to be regulated by developmental changes and nutritional signals, and to be independent of mating stimulus.