Isolated Malpighian tubules of the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti spontaneously secrete NaCl, KCl and water across an epithelium of modest transepithelial resistance (40-80 omega cm2) and high transepithelial voltage (30-70 mV, lumen positive). Transepithelial electrochemical potentials indicate that Na and K are secreted by active and Cl by passive transport mechanisms. The addition of synthetic leucokinin-VIII (LK-VIII, insect myotropic peptide) to the peritubular bath significantly increases the rates of transepithelial NaCl, KCl and water secretion. In parallel, LK-VIII depolarizes the transepithelial voltage from 59.3 to 5.7 mV, decreases the transepithelial resistance from 57.7 to 9.9 omega cm2, and renders the basolateral and apical membrane voltages nearly equipotential (approximately -90 mV). Unilateral step changes of the [Cl] in the peritubular bath or tubule lumen elicit small transepithelial Cl diffusion potentials in the absence of LK-VIII but large transepithelial Cl diffusion potentials, up to 85% of Nernst equilibrium potentials, in the presence of LK-VIII. In Malpighian tubules treated with dinitrophenol for estimates of the shunt resistance Rsh, LK-VIII reduces Rsh from 52.5 to 5.8 omega cm2. Bilateral reductions of the Cl concentration in tubule lumen and peritubular bath fully restore Rsh to 55.8 omega cm2 in the presence of LK-VIII. LK-VIII has no effects when presented from the luminal side. These results suggest that LK-VIII increases the Cl conductance of the epithelial shunt via a receptor located at the basolateral side of the epithelium.