NADPH-diaphorase (NADPHd) is known to be identical to nitric oxide (NO) synthase in the mammalian nervous system, and is therefore used as a marker of NO-producing neurones. Using the histochemical reaction for NADPHd, we searched for such neurones in a selection of invertebrates. Special emphasis was given to molluscs. No selective neuronal staining was found in representatives of coelenterates, turbellarians, nematodes and urochordates. In all annelids, arthropods and molluscs examined, with the exception of a chiton, specific neurones were selectively stained. The reaction was particularly strong in pulmonate molluscs where scattered positive neurones were found in various ganglia and clustered symmetrically in the paired buccal ganglia. Biochemical assay of NO synthase in osphradia of the gastropod mollusc Lymnaea stagnalis revealed a formation of citrullin that was inhibited by the specific NO synthase N omega-nitro-L-arginine (NO2Arg). Both histochemical and biochemical methods indicate that NO can be used as a signal molecule by specific neurones in advanced invertebrates.