The larynx of adult male Xenopus laevis differs markedly from that of the female; masculinization of the larynx requires androgen secretion during postmetamorphic development. Early in postmetamorphic development, androgen stimulates laryngeal cell proliferation and androgen binding activity is high. Later, androgen induces laryngeal cell differentiation and binding levels decrease. Here we explore the relation between laryngeal differentiation and androgen receptor expression. In untreated females, the larynx expresses high levels of androgen receptor mRNA early in postmetamorphic life; levels decline as females mature. The highest level of androgen receptor message is found in the undifferentiated laryngeal elastic precartilage of both sexes. When juveniles are exposed to androgen, laryngeal cell proliferation is stimulated within 48 hr in both sexes. Short exposures to androgen result in a biphasic response of AR mRNA levels; a marked down-regulation (4 hr) is followed by recovery at 8 hr (males) or 48 hr (females). Following longer periods of androgen treatment (3 weeks), AR mRNA expression is down-regulated and male-typical differentiation of elastic cartilage is induced in both sexes. Thus laryngeal growth responses to androgen are closely related to expression levels of androgen receptor mRNA.