This work investigated the effect from exposure to insecticides carbofuran and deltamethrin on acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in the brain and muscle of common carp (Cyprinus carpio). Both pesticides were evaluated through two separate experiments, and carp were exposed in a semi-static system to three different concentrations of carbofuran (10, 50, and 100 μg/L) and deltamethrin (0.08, 0.4, and 0.8 μg/L) during a month with sampling times at 0, 4, 15, and 30 days (n = 7 from each aquarium). AChE activity was significantly inhibited in both organs of carps exposed to carbofuran at all sampling times depending on dose and time, reaching inhibition values of 73.5 and 67.1%, in brain and muscle tissues respectively, after 30 days with the highest concentration. On the contrary, AChE activity was not significantly affected after deltamethrin exposure at all concentrations and times of the assay. This study shows that the measurement of brain and muscle AChE activity in Cyprinus carpio is a useful biomarker of carbamates exposure and/or effects, but has no application with pyrethroids. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 29: 386–393, 2014.