The ether phospholipid composition of various tissues (brain, heart, lung, liver, kidney, testis, erythrocytes and plasma) has been investigated in human, rat and guinea pig, using a new method of determination (El Tamer, A., Record, M., Fauvel, J., Chap, H. and Douste-Blazy, L. (1984) Biochim. Biophys. Acta 793, 213-220). This is based on the selective removal of diacyl phospholipid species by phospholipase A1 degradation followed by acidolysis of the plasmalogens. Our results fit rather well with other literature data available for human and rat tissues, illustrating the good reliability of the method. Among various differences noted between the three mammalian species, guinea pig is characterized by a relatively higher content of 1-alkyl-2-acyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (alkylacyl-GPC) and of ethanolamine plasmalogens in blood plasma. Alkylacyl-GPC, a putative precursor of platelet activating factor (PAF-acether or 1-alkyl-2-acetyl-GPC), is also more abundant in guinea pig lung and in human kidney. This study also revealed a striking parallelism between the tissue content of alkylacyl-GPC and alkylacyl-GPE (1-alkyl-2-acyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine). This new observation is discussed in relation to a possible metabolic link between these two phospholipids.