Rhodnius prolixus eliminates NaCl-rich urine at high rates following its infrequent but massive blood meals. This diuresis involves stimulation of Malpighian tubule fluid secretion by diuretic hormones released in response to distention of the abdomen during feeding. The precipitous decline in urine flow that occurs several hours after feeding has been thought until now to result from a decline in diuretic hormone release. We suggest here that insect cardioacceleratory peptide 2b (CAP2b) and cyclic GMP are part of a novel mechanism of anti-diuresis. Secretion rates of 5-hydroxytryptamine-stimulated Malpighian tubules are reduced by low doses of CAP2b or cyclic GMP. Maximal secretion rates are restored by exposing tubules to 1 mmol l-1 cyclic AMP. Levels of cyclic GMP in isolated tubules increase in response to CAP2b, consistent with a role for cyclic GMP as an intracellular second messenger. Levels of cyclic GMP in tubules also increase as urine output rates decline in vivo, suggesting a physiological role for this nucleotide in the termination of diuresis.