Damage to the surface membrane of adult Schistosoma mansoni, and the activity of the excretory system, as shown by resorufin fluorescence, was observed following treatment with praziquantel and incubation with other molecules. Praziquantel treatment induced damage to the surface membrane as measured by the use of a variety of fluorescent compounds. The excretory system of the male worm was inhibited immediately after praziquantel treatment, but fully recovered after culture for 2 h following removal of praziquantel. The excretory system of the female, observed to be minimally active in untreated worm pairs, was often greatly activated in paired females, as shown by intense resorufin labelling, after praziquantel treatment, and this continued during recovery of the male excretory system. In experiments with normal worm pairs, the female could be activated by inhibiting the metabolic rate of the pair by a cooling procedure. The effects on the excretory system of changes in culture conditions (such as changes in pH, concentrations of bacterial lipopolysaccharide, cytokines, reactive oxygen species, compounds which remove cholesterol, such as beta-methyl cyclodextrin, and damaging basic poly-L-lysine) were also assessed. It is concluded that the extensive excretory system of the adult worm is responsive to drug treatment and to certain changes in environmental conditions. Its activity seems to be strongly linked to the integrity of the surface membrane.