The undecapeptide corazonin (pGlu-Thr-Phe-Gln-Tyr-Ser-His-Gly-Trp-Thr-AsnNH(2)) elicits a retraction of erythrophore pigment granules and dispersion of leucophore pigment granules in the crayfish Procambarus clarkii. The effects are dose-dependent from 10(-10) to 10(-5) M. Influence on erythrophores is lower than that of Red Pigment Concentrating Hormone (RPCH), which is inactive on leucophores. Corazonin effects are partly blocked by an anti-corazonin antibody, and even less by an anti-RPCH antibody. Corazonin effects are completely suppressed by the calcium chelator BAPTA. Immunoreactive somata and fibers were identified in various regions of the eyestalk (medulla terminalis, medulla interna and medulla externa) with the anti-corazonin antibody. These results suggest the possible existence of a corazonin-like peptide in crustaceans. (C) 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.