The effects of the amines 5HT and octopamine on the myogenic activity of Periplaneta americana (L.) oviducts and the pharmacological profile of octopamine and 5HT receptors on the lateral oviducts have been determined. Application of 5HT to the oviducts resulted in a dose-dependent increase in basal tonus and amplitude of contractions. Antagonist studies revealed that the 5HT receptor on the cockroach oviduct most resembles the mammalian 5HT2 receptor. Application of octopamine resulted in a decrease in basal tonus and had a biphasic effect on the amplitude of contractions, being stimulatory at low doses and inhibitory at higher ones. The inhibitory effects of octopamine appear to be mediated via cAMP and are blocked by antagonists which indicate that the octopamine receptor is of the octopamine-2 type. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.