Lagenidium giganteum, a facultative parasite of mosquito larvae, cannot synthesize sterols, and requires an exogenous source of these lipids in order to enter its reproductive cycle. This parasite grows vegetatively in the absence of sterols, but requires cholesterol or structurally related compounds to produce motile zoospores, which are the only stage capable of infecting mosquitoes. Sterols structurally related to cholesterol and some steryl esters inhibited the activity of L. giganteum phospholipase A2 (PLA2), an enzyme that hydrolyzes fatty acids from the sn-2 position of glycerophospholipids. Sterols that induce reproduction inhibited L. giganteum PLA2 activity, while sterols and steroids that do not support sporulation had minimal effect. Most steryl esters had no effect on enzyme activity, but cholesteryl arachidonate (CA) was a potent inhibitor of parasite PLA2. Not all enzymes partly purified using a DEAE-Sephacel column were affected by these lipids, demonstrating selective inhibition of specific enzymes. Potency was enhanced by up to several orders of magnitude if epoxy fatty acids were esterified to the cholesterol nucleus. The steryl ester pool was dynamic during morphogenesis, and the fatty acid composition of the steryl esters did not mimic total cell or membrane (glycerophospholipid) fatty acid composition as L. giganteum proceeded through its growth cycle. Synthesis of CA and monoepoxy CA by the parasite was confirmed using electrospray mass spectrometry and collision-induced dissociation. Steryl derivatives selectively inhibited PLA2 enzymes from bovine pancreas, snake venom, and human cytoplasmic 85-kDa PLA2.