Nicotinamide-adenine-dinucleotide-phosphate-diaphorase (NADPH-d) histochemistry has been applied in the present study to determine the distribution of putative nitric oxide (nitric oxide synthase)-producing cells during embryonic and early postembryonic development in the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis L., with special reference to the nervous system. The first NADPH-d-positive structures appear as early as 18% of development (E18, trochophore stage) and correspond to the pair of protonephridia. These structures later show disintegration, although after metamorphosis (E26=75%) staining of their individually spreading cells can be observed until hatching. Peripheral sensory neurons in the foot, mantle edge and lips, and their afferents projecting to the central nervous system reveal NADPH-d activity in the postmetamorphosis period (E25-E27=E60%-E80%) of embryogenesis. After hatching (P1-P3), a number of stained sensory cells appear in the pharynx and esophagus. Some NADPH-d positive neuronal perikarya occur in the pedal and pleural ganglia, and a few weakly stained cells in the cerebral and buccal ganglia of juvenile snails. At the same time, a continuous bundle of reactive fibers is formed in the neuropil both through and through around the circumesophageal ganglion ring. The localization of NADPH-d activity in the developing nervous system of Lymnaea suggests that nitric oxide participates mainly in sensory processes. However, its role in specific intraganglionic integrative events cannot be excluded following embryonic metamorphosis.