Three neurotoxic fractions, lethal to mice, were isolated from the venom of the spider Phoneutria nigriventer, by gel filtration and reverse phase chromatography (Phoneutria toxins 1, 2 and 3). These toxins have mol. wts in the range 6000-9000, and have different amino acid compositions and N-terminal amino acid sequences. The toxins also differ in the lethality and signs they cause in mice after intracerebro-ventricular injection. The median LD50 being respectively for the whole venom, toxins 1, 2 and 3, 47 +/- 5 micrograms, 45 +/- 4 micrograms, 1.7 +/- 0.7 micrograms and 137 +/- 10 micrograms/kg mouse. Toxins 1 and 2 induce excitatory symptoms in mice and toxin 3 a flaccid paralysis with an ED50 of 40 +/- 5 micrograms/kg mouse as measured also by intracerebro-ventricular injection. The presence in the venom of a non-neurotoxic, smooth muscle active peptide is also described.