1. Ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD) activity, aldrin epoxidase (AE) activity, cytochrome P-450 content, and levels of cytochrome P-450E (the major BNF-inducible P-450 form and primary EROD catalyst in scup) or its homologues were measured in hepatic microsomes isolated from Fundulus heteroclitus, scup (Stenotomus chrysops) and brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) treated with beta-naphthoflavone (BNF) or phenobarbital (PB). 2. In all three teleost species, BNF treatment caused expected increases in P-450 content, EROD activity and P-450E level; but either no change or a slight decrease in AE turnover rate (nmol/min/nmol P-450). 3. Polyclonal antibodies to P-450E did not inhibit AE activity in microsomes from BNF-treated scup, confirming that this major BNF-inducible P-450 form does not catalyze AE activity in fish. 4. In contrast, PB treatment did not affect hepatic AE activity, P-450 content or levels of "P-450E" in F. heteroclitus, but did variably affect EROD activity which was suppressed in one experiment and elevated in another. 5. The results indicate that (i) contrary to previous reports, neither PB nor MC-type inducers increase AE activity in F. heteroclitus, (ii) MC-type inducers do not affect AE activity in the other teleost species examined, and (iii) AE activity is not a reliable indicator of P-450 induction by environmental chemicals. 6. We emphasize the need to establish the mechanism of PB action, and the nature of any fish P-450 forms analogous to PB-inducible forms in mammals in order to conclusively evaluate PB-responses in fish.