In order to clarify the role of the system that generates and degrades cyclic AMP during the initiation of motility of trout sperm, short-term changes in levels of intraspermatozoal cyclic AMP, adenylate cyclase, and phosphodiesterase were measured. Levels of cyclic AMP and the activity of adenylate cyclase increased and reached a maximum level 1 sec after transfer of sperm to K+-free medium, where they became motile, and then decreased rapidly. However, there were no changes in either parameter in sperm which remained immotile in K+-rich medium. In addition, an increase in the activity of phosphodiesterase was observed 4 sec later than the increase in levels of cyclic AMP and adenylate cyclase. These findings suggest that a very rapid change in the level of intracellular cyclic AMP occurs within 1 sec, at the moment of spawning, by the activation of adenylate cyclase and phosphodiesterase, and regulates the initiation of trout sperm motility.