Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) is known for its key role in modulating diverse physiological processes and behaviors by binding various 5-HT receptors. However a lack of pharmacological knowledge impedes studies on invertebrate 5-HT receptors. Moreover pharmacological information is urgently needed in order to establish a reliable classification system for invertebrate 5-HT receptors. In this study we report on the molecular cloning and pharmacological characterization of a 5-HT1 receptor from the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Tc5-HT1). The Tc5-HT1 receptor encoding cDNA shows considerable sequence similarity with members of the 5-HT1 receptor class. Real time PCR showed high expression in the brain and optic lobes, consistent with the role of 5-HT as neurotransmitter. Activation of Tc5-HT1 in mammalian cells decreased NKH-477-stimulated cyclic AMP levels in a dose-dependent manner, but did not influence intracellular Ca2+ signaling. We studied the pharmacological profile of the 5-HT1 receptor and demonstrated that α-methylserotonin, 5-methoxytryptamine and 5-carboxamidotryptamine acted as agonists. Prazosin, methiothepin and methysergide were the most potent antagonists and showed competitive inhibition in presence of 5-HT. This study offers important information on a 5-HT1 receptor from T. castaneum facilitating functional research of 5-HT receptors in insects and other invertebrates. The pharmacological profiles may contribute to establish a reliable classification scheme for invertebrate 5-HT receptors.