A highly purified prolactin (PRL) was isolated from the chum salmon pituitary by extraction with acid acetone, gel filtration on Sephadex G-25 and ion-exchange chromatography on CM-Sephadex C-25 with a yield of 1 mg/g of wet tissue. It was 10-15 times more potent than ovine PRL in sodium-retaining activity for juvenile rainbow trout adapted to 50% seawater. The salmon PRL emerged as a single and symmetrical peak on Sephadex G-100 with Ve/Vo = 2.0. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed only one band at pH 4.3, whereas no band was seen at pH 7.5. The isoelectric point was estimated to be 10.3 by gel electric focusing. The circular dichroism spectrum of the salmon PRL was similar to that of tilapia PRL, showing an alpha-helix content of 50%. The salmon PRL had a molecular weight of 23,400 daltons by gel filtration and 22,300 daltons by sodium dodecyl sulfate gel electrophoresis, with a single NH2-terminal residue, isoleucine, and a single COOH-terminal residue, half-cystine. In the sequence comparison with those of mammalian PRLs and growth hormones, the clusters of invariant residues were found in both terminal regions, although the disulfide at NH2-terminal of mammalian PRLs was missing. Specific salmon PRL antisera were prepared in rabbits giving a precipitin reaction against the salmon PRL and a pituitary extract of tilapia in agar diffusion but no cross reaction with purified mammalian PRLs. The antibody was localized specifically in PRL cells of the chum salmon pituitary.