Rats with bilateral electrolytic lesions of perirhinal cortex (PRC) or sham control (SHAM) lesions were tested in spatial reference and working memory tasks in the radial arm maze. In experiment 1, one arm of the maze was baited and always located in a fixed position relative to the extra-maze environment. PRC lesioned animals made a significantly greater number of errors than did SHAM animals during initial training in this reference memory task and exhibited a delay-dependent impairment on trial 5 in a series when a delay period of 5, 60, 120, or 240 s was inserted between trials 4 and 5. In experiment 2, when a second group of the animals was tested on the standard radial arm maze working memory task, the performance of the PRC group was markedly impaired relative to controls. These data demonstrate that electrolytic PRC lesions result in a deficit in both spatial reference and spatial working memory tasks. These effects are interpreted as being consistent with the idea that PRC plays an important role in episodic memory processes. These processes may include the storage of information, which is required for the performance of spatial tasks.