Surface hydrophobicity of the luminal lining of the canine stomach has been studied as a very convenient means of following the adsorbed monolayer of surfactant believed to provide the gastric mucosal barrier. Hydrophobicity has been measured as the contact angle (theta) produced when a drop of saline is placed upon the surface. theta was found to decrease from 82 to 62 degrees upon 50% linear extension of samples of oxyntic mucosa from 10 dogs. When the phospholipid believed to cause the hydrophobicity was absorbed to glass slides, the contact angle was found to decrease with lower surface concentration. Thinning or "crazing" of the absorbed surfactant monolayer imparting the very hydrophobic nature of the luminal lining is discussed as a possible reason why ulcers tend to form at the crests of the folds, i.e., at points where the surface has been stretched and the monolayer disrupted.