125I-alpha-bungarotoxin (125I-alpha BT) was used to measure the pool sizes of surface and intracellular acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) in the myotomal muscle of Xenopus laevis over a developmental period (stages 23–48; 1.03–7.5 d) which ranged from initial to mature stages of neuromuscular synaptogenesis. The surface pool increased progressively throughout development. The intracellular pool increased more slowly and also underwent a transient decrease. Linear regression indicated that AChRs begin to appear intracellularly and in the surface membrane at embryonic ages of 13.2 and 18.5 hr, respectively. The findings also suggest that newly synthesized AChRs contribute much more to the intracellular pool than do AChRs internalized from the surface membrane and that the rates of supply and/or intracellular resident times of these 2 sources of intracellular AChRs change during the course of normal development. Carbamylcholine, even at concentrations 10-fold greater than needed to block completely 125I-alpha BT binding to surface AChRs, blocked specific intracellular binding by only 80%. Considered in the light of previous studies on cell cultures, these results suggest that 20% of the intracellular sites are on alpha- subunits not yet assembled into pentameric AChRs. Light microscope radioautography revealed an essentially uniform distribution of intracellular AChRs along the length of the muscle cells. It is concluded that during the normal development of Xenopus myotomal muscle the accumulation and maintenance of AChRs in the postsynaptic membrane occurs in the absence of any preferential concentration of intracellular AChRs in the subsynaptic region.