In each of two separate experiments, eggs from a single female goldfish were fertilized, incubated at 22°C and sampled regularly up to day 6 when the larvae could be expected to commence feeding. Hatching normally occurred on Day 4. Lipids were extracted from the eggs and larvae and the neutral lipid and neutral phospholipids were isolated on aminopropyl columns. Fatty acid analysis of the eggs revealed the typical situation in fish where the phospholipids were rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and the neutral lipids were rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). Assay of lipid masses revealed that little depletion of lipid occurred until after hatch and that the neutral phospholipids were the principal fraction consumed. Although the neutral lipid mass did not change substantially during development, its fatty acid profile did. The proportions of several PUFA in the neutral lipids, especially 22∶6(n-3), 20∶5(n-3) and 20∶4(n-6), increased substantially during development while proportions of MUFA and 18∶2(n-6) declined. This appears to be a mechanism by which the larva can retain essential fatty acid released on hydrolysis of phospholipid while deriving the benefits of catabolism of phospholipid as fuel, namely the provision of phosphate and choline for intermediary metabolism and for the synthesis of macromolecules and neurotransmitter.