Immunoperoxidase staining for corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) in the median eminence was sparce or absent from premetamorphic tadpoles, but increased dramatically by late prometamorphosis. Quantitative photometry revealed that CRF-like immunostaining material in the median eminence was most dense in metamorphic climax tadpoles. Arginine vasotocin (AVT)-like immunostaining material was visualized in perikarya of the magnocellular nucleus, with extensive fiber staining seen in the medial basal and infundibular hypothalamus as well as in the median eminence and pars nervosa of the pituitary. AVT-like immunoreactive perikarya were virtually absent in premetamorphic tadpoles, but their number increased greatly by Taylor-Kollros stage XII and continued to increase after this stage. Quantitative photometry revealed that AVT-like immunoreactivity in the pars nervosa increased greatly at Taylor-Kollros stage XII and remained intense after this stage. AVT-like immunoreactivity did not appear in the median eminence until Taylor-Kollros stage XVI. Localization of AVT-like immunoperoxidase staining around portal vessels in the median eminence suggests an anatomical mechanism for delivery of AVT to anterior pituitary corticotropes. These results indicate that both CRF and vasotocinergic neuronal systems develop just before the activation of interrenal steroidogenesis which occurs during the later stages of metamorphosis in this species.