We used antibodies to a number of neuromodulatory substances, including serotonin, FLRF amide, red pigment-concentrating hormone, substance P, proctolin and cholecystokinin, to investigate the distribution of molecules similar to these substances in the stomatogastric ganglion of the crab, Cancer borealis. No immunoreactivity was seen in the region of the cell bodies that surrounds the neuropil and little was found in the core of the neuropil (where the primary neurites of the intrinsic neurons occupy most of the space). Instead, modulator immunolabel was densely packed in the more peripheral portion of the neuropil that surrounded the core. Within this peripheral neuropil, profiles appeared quite uniformly distributed. Double-labeling showed that there were limited differences in distribution between the labels examined in our study. The only immunolabeled structures that showed a distinct differential distribution within the stomatogastric neuropil were a population of >/=10 microm varicosities that arose from a pair of input fibers that we termed the large varicosity fibers. These varicosities were immunolabelled by antisera for three different peptides. Taken collectively, these data shows that there is a stereotyped distribution of modulator immunoreactivity within the crab stomatogastric neuropil. However, this segregation is more rudimentary than that reported for the intrinsic stomatogastric neurons.