The influence of methoprene, an insect growth regulator used in mosquito control, on larval development of the estuarine grass shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio) was examined in the laboratory. No grass shrimp larvae successfully completed metamorphosis when continuously exposed to 1000 microg methoprene/liter. Completion of larval metamorphosis was significantly reduced by exposure to 100 microg/liter of the isomeric mixture (R,S)-methoprene but not the single isomer formulation (S)-methoprene. No statistically significant difference was revealed, however, in ability to inhibit metamorphosis between these two isomeric types across the broad range of exposure concentrations from 0.1 to 1000.0 microg/liter. The first two larval stages and the final premetamorphic larval stage were more sensitive to methoprene toxicity than intermediate larval stages. Methoprene exposure did not alter either the duration of total larval development or the total number of larval stages prior to metamorphosis. (Copyright (c) 1990 Elsevier Science Publishers Ltd., England).