Intrinsic buccal muscle 5 (I5) in Aplysia is innervated by 2 motor neurons (termed B15 and B16). In addition to the classical transmitter ACh, B15 also contains the 2 neuropeptides SCPA and SCPB. In a previous study, we demonstrated that the SCPs were released from the terminals of B15 in the I5 muscle and that this release was sufficient to raise cAMP levels in I5 muscle fibers. Significant peptide release occurred only when B15 was stimulated at high frequency or at lower frequencies with a relatively long burst duration (Whim and Lloyd, 1989). In the present article, we examine the possibility that the SCPs released from B15 modulate I5 muscle contractions produced by stimulation of the second motor neuron, B16. Application of exogenous SCPs to I5 muscles increased the amplitude and relaxation rate of B16-evoked contractions. Stimulation of B15 using paradigms that have been shown previously to cause release of the SCPs resulted in a long-lasting increase in the amplitude and relaxation rate of muscle contractions evoked by B16. This modulation is unlikely to be due to the B15-induced muscle contractions themselves, because modulation of B16-evoked contraction amplitude and relaxation rate was observed when the contractions were blocked transiently by a cholinergic antagonist during B15 stimulation. Conversely, stimulation of B15 at frequencies that produce no measurable release of the SCPs did not elicit significant modulation of B16-evoked contractions. The minimum B15 stimulation frequency required to elevate muscle cAMP levels or to modulate B16-evoked contractions was found to be within the physiological range at which B15 fires during feeding. Therefore, the mechanism underlying the modulation of B16-evoked contractions by B15 is likely to involve the release of the SCPs from B15 terminals in the I5 muscle. With respect to behavior, this modulation of muscle contractions would be most likely to occur during food-induced arousal when both motor neurons fire at high frequency with brief interburst intervals.