In insects, the neuropeptide eclosion hormone (EH) acts on the CNS to evoke the stereotyped behaviors that cause ecdysis, the shedding of the cuticle at the end of each molt. Concomitantly, EH induces an increase in cyclic GMP (cGMP). Using antibodies against this second messenger, we show that this increase is confined to a network of 50 peptidergic neurons distributed throughout the CNS. Increases appeared 30 min after EH treatment, spread rapidly throughout these neurons, and were extremely long lived. We show that this response is synaptically driven, and does not involve the soluble, nitric oxide (NO)-activated, guanylate cyclase. Stereotyped variations in the duration of the cGMP response among neurons suggest a role in coordinating responses having different latencies and durations.