Experiments were conducted to determine whether the biogenic amines octopamine (OA) and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) exert modulatory effects on pheromone responsiveness and random locomotor activity in male gypsy moths. When injected into males, OA significantly enhanced sensitivity to pheromone, while 5-HT enhanced general locomotor activity, results that were very similar to those previously shown for the cabbage looper. Maximal effect of the amines, however, was observed when injection occurred just prior to the onset of scotophase, rather than photophase, as we had originally hypothesized for this diurnally active insect. Male gypsy moths also displayed a prominent scotophase response, with sensitivity to pheromone greater in the scotphase compared with photophase, but with the level of random locomotor activity lower in scotophase than in photophase. The upwind flight behavior of males to a pheromone source in a wind tunnel, as well as the time spent at the source, were also significantly different in the two light regimes. Furthermore, when exposed to a 1 h scotophase (instead of the normal 8), or to continuous dark conditions, while males exhibited response to pheromone and locomotor activity during the same scotophase and photophase periods as observed in a 16:8 light : dark cycle, the levels of response, as well as qualitative aspects of the upwind flight behaviors in both periods were a function of the light intensity. Our combined results suggest that male gypsy moths display a bimodal rhythm of locomotor and pheromone response over the diel cycle, with light intensity and scotophase onset providing critical cues for the expression of behaviors, as well as the modulatory action of the amines. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.