Gametophytes of Ulva mutabilis Føyn and Ulva lactuca L. were artificially induced to form gametangia by removal of sporulation inhibitors. After this treatment, U. mutabilis gametes were ready for swarming on the third morning after induction, while U. lactuca gametangia needed 1–2 d longer for maturation. Release of gametes of U. lactuca was dependent solely upon exposure to the first light in the morning. Gametangia of U. mutabilis, however, also required sufficient dilution of the swarming inhibitor (SWI). SWI was excreted transiently by both Ulva species early during gametogenesis. While the SWI concentration in U. mutabilis medium remained above the inhibitory concentration until the gametangia were mature, the concentration of U. lactuca-SWI dropped rapidly below this level. In the presence of sufficient SWI, mature gametes of U. mutabilis remained motionless within the gametangia despite light and open exit pores. However, using SEM, an additional seal was detected within these pores, which probably prevented premature swarming until dilution of SWI and exposure to light. Observations by time lapse microscopy and experiments with the myosin kinase inhibitor BDM suggest that the gametes may be either extruded by the gametangium or leave the exit pore by active gliding motion, driven by a myosin-like motor protein. The SWIs were purified from both Ulva species, and mass spectral analysis showed their molecular masses (292 Da) were identical.