The 5-HT2B receptor agonist, BW 723C86 (10 and 20 mg/kg s.c.), increased the time spent in feeding behaviour of freely-fed rats in observation cages over 15 min. BW 723C86 (20 and 50 mg/kg s.c. 30 min pre-test) also modestly increased food consumption of freely-fed rats over 1 and 2 hr, but not 4 hr, in their home cages. This action was at least partly mediated centrally, as it was reproduced by i.c.v. infusion of 1 and 10 micrograms in freely-fed rats. The effect is also likely to be 5-HT2B receptor-mediated, as no hyperphagic response to BW 723C86 (20 mg/kg s.c. 30 min pre-test) was observed in freely-fed rats pretreated with the 5-HT2C/2B receptor antagonist SB 206553 (1, 3, 20 or 40 mg/kg p.o. 1 hr pre-test) while the selective 5-HT1A receptor antagonist, WAY 100635 (0.1 or 0.3 mg/kg s.c. 30 min pre-test), had no effect. Systemic (1, 10 and 20 mg/kg s.c. 30 min pre-test) but not i.c.v. (1-30 micrograms) BW 723C86 also reduced the frequency of grooming bouts of rats in observation cages. BW 723C86 given either s.c. (1-20 mg/kg 30 min pre-test) or i.c.v. (1-30 micrograms) did not cause hypolocomotion, penile erection, oral dyskinesias or hyperthermia, behaviours associated with administration of the 5-HT2C/2B receptor agonist m-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP), and are thus likely to involve-5-HT2C receptor activation.