The immunohistochemical localization of somatostatin-like immunoreactive (SSir) cells and fibers in the brain of the gymnotiform teleost (Apteronotus leptorhynchus) was investigated using well-characterized monoclonal antibodies directed against somatostatin-14 and -28. Large populations of SSir neurons occur in the basal forebrain, diencephalon and rhombencephalon and a dense distribution of fibers and terminal fields is found in the ventral, dorsomedial and dorsolateral telencephalon, hypothalamus, centralis posterior thalamus, subtrigeminal nucleus, the motor nucleus of vagus and in the ventrolateral medulla. Immunoreactive neurons in the forebrain are concentrated mainly in the ventral telencephalic areas, the region of the anterior commissure and entopeduncular nucleus. In a fashion similar to the large basal telencephalic cells of other species, the cells of the rostral nucleus entopeduncularis have a significant projection to the dorsal telencephalon. The preoptic region and the peri- and paraventricular hypothalamic nuclei are richly endowed with SSir cells; some of these cells contribute fibres to the pituitary stalk and gland. In the thalamus, only the n. centralis posterior stands out for the density of SSir cells and terminals; these cells appear to project to the prepacemaker nucleus, thus suggesting an SS influence on electrocommunication. In the mesencephalon most SSir cells occur in the optic tectum, torus semicircularis and interpeduncular nucleus. The rhombencephalic SSir cells have a wider distribution (central gray, raphe, sensory nuclei, reticular formation, electrosensory lateral line lobe and surrounding the central canal). The results of this study show the presence of SS in various sensory systems, electromotor system and specific hypothalamic nuclei, suggesting a modulatory role in the processing of sensory information, electrocommunication, endocrine and motor activities.