The effects of acute and chronic exposure to either ethylene dibromide (EDB) or mercuric chloride (MC) were studied in laboratory-reared Octopus joubini, O. maya and O. bimaculoides. The advantages of using octopuses were that the responses were immediate, highly visible and sensitive. All species demonstrated signs of toxicity to acute and chronic exposure to EDB and to MC. A dosage-sensitive relationship for the loss and subsequent recovery of locomotor response and of chromatophore expansion was found for each species after acute exposure. For each species the LC50 for chronic exposure occurred within 12 hr at 100 mg/l for EDB and within 3 hr at 1,000 mg/l for MC. This study demonstrated the potential usefulness of laboratory-reared octopuses in evaluating the toxicity of marine environmental pollutants.