Medaka (Oryzias latipes) eggs microinjected with the Ca2+-mobilising messenger cyclic adenosine diphosphate ribose (cADPR) underwent a wave of exocytosis of cortical alveoli and were thus activated. The number of eggs activated was sharply dependent on the concentration of cADPR in the pipette, the threshold concentration was approximately 60 nM. After injection, a pronounced latency preceded the onset of cortical alveoli exocytosis; this latency was independent of the concentration of cADPR but decreased markedly with increasing temperature. Heat-treated cADPR, which yields the inert non-cyclised product ADP-ribose, was ineffective in activating eggs. When cADPR was injected into aequorin-loaded eggs, a wave of luminescence arose at the site of cADPR injection and then swept out across the egg with a mean velocity of approximately 13 μm/s; the velocity was independent of the concentration of injected cADPR. In such a large cell (diameter of around 1 mm), this is considerably faster than that possible by simple diffusion of cADPR, which unambiguously demonstrates that cADPR must activate a regenerative process. cADPR has been demonstrated to modulate Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release (CICR) via ryanodine receptors (RyRs) in many cell types, and consistent with this was the finding that microinjection of the pharmacological RyR modulator, ryanodine, also activated medaka eggs. These results suggest that a cADPR-sensitive Ca2+ release mechanism is present in the medaka egg, that cADPR is the most potent activator of medaka eggs described to date, and that it activates eggs by triggering a wave of CICR from internal stores that in turn stimulates a wave of exocytosis.