In order to clarify the role of the system that generates and degrades cyclic AMP during the initiation of motility of trout sperm, short term changes in levels of intraspermatozoal cyclic AMP, adenylate cyclase, and phosphodiesterase were measured. Levels of cyclic AMP and the activity of adenylate cyclase increased and reached a maximum level 1 sec after transfer of sperm to K+ -free medium, where they became motile, and then decreased rapidly. However, there were no changes in either parameter in sperm which remained immotile in K+ -rich medium. In addition, an increase in the activity of phosphodiesterase was observed 4 sec later than the increase in levels of cyclic AMP and adenylate cyclase. These findings suggest that a very rapid change in the level of intracellular cyclic AMP occurs within 1 sec, at the moment of spawning, by the activation of adenylate cyclase and phosphodiesterase, and regulates the initiation of trout sperm motility.