1. The effects of the calcium channel blockers, funnel-web spider toxin (FTX), omega-agatoxin IVA (omega-Aga IVA) and omega-conotoxin GVIA (omega-CgTX), were tested on transmitter release and presynaptic currents in frog motor nerve endings. 2. Evoked transmitter release was blocked by FTX (IC50 = 0.02 microliter ml-1) and omega-CgTX (1 microM) but was not affected by omega-Aga IVA (0.5 microM). When FTX (0.1 microliter ml-1) was assayed on spontaneous release either in normal Ringer solution or in low Ca(2+)-high Mg2+ solution, it was found not to affect miniature endplate potential (MEPP) amplitude but to increase MEPP frequency by approximately 2-fold in both conditions. 3. Presynaptic calcium currents (ICa), measured by the perineurial technique in the presence of 10 mM tetraethylammonium chloride (TEA) and 200 microM BaCl2 to block K+ currents, were blocked by omega-CgTX (5 microM), partially blocked by FTX (1 microliter ml-1) and not affected by omega-Aga IVA (0.5 microM). 4. The presynaptic calcium-activated potassium current (IK(Ca)) measured by the perineurial technique in the presence of 0.5 microM 3,4-aminopyridine (DAP) to block voltage-dependent K+ currents, was strongly affected by charybdotoxin (ChTX) (300 nM) and completely abolished by BaCl2 (200 microM). This current was also blocked by omega-CgTX (5 microM) and by CdCl2 (200 microM) but was not affected by FTX (1 microliter ml-1). The blockade by omega-CgTX could not be reversed by elevating [Ca]o to 10 mM. 5. The results suggest that in frog synaptic terminals two omega-CgTX-sensitive populations might coexist. The transmitter release process seems to be mediated by calcium influx through a omega-CgTX- and FTX-sensitive population.