The presence and the distribution of carbohydrate moieties in ripe lancelet (Branchiostoma lanceolatum) oocytes (mean diameter 130 μm) was studied by lectin histochemistry in combination with enzyme and chemical treatments. Binding sites for eight lectins with specificities towards different glycan moieties were studied on sections of the whole body of mature female lancelets. Only three of the lectins tested reacted positively. Concanavalin-A (ConA)-binding glycoconjugates were localized in the cytoplasm, namely in yolk granules, whereas Artocarpus integrifolia (AIA) and Ricinus communis (RCA) agglutinins bound strongly to extracellular coats of the oocyte identified as the jelly coat and vitelline layer. No other tissues of the lancelet body were found to be positive to any lectin tested, except gut enterocytes which reacted strongly with AIA. Reactivity to ConA was abolished by pretreatment of sections with N-glycosidase F but not by mild alkaline hydrolysis, confirming that the glycoconjugates were of the N-linked type. On the contrary, chemical removal of O-linked chains by mild alkaline hydrolysis abolished AIA and RCA reactivity but had no effect on ConA positivity.