The opener muscle in the walking legs of the crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) is innervated by only one excitatory motor neuron, yet excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) of proximal fibers are eightfold larger than those of central muscle fibers at low frequencies of activation, due in large measure to differences in presynaptic properties. We investigated quantal release properties, calcium signals, and ultrastructure of presynaptic terminals to elucidate factors that could account for the physiological differences. Focal macropatch electrodes were placed over individual visualized terminal varicosities to obtain records of quantal contributions to the excitatory junctional current (EJC). At low frequencies of activation, mean quantal content is greater for proximal than for central varicosities. This difference is due to a higher probability of release per synapse, and not to a larger number of active synapses. Recorded varicosities were labeled with fluorescent beads deposited by the electrode. These beads adhered to the muscle fibers, outlining the recorded site for subsequent serial thin sectioning and reconstruction from electron micrographs. Comparisons of structure and function were made for individual varicosities. The number of active zones per terminal surface area and the number of synapses with multiple active zones (complex synapses) were greater in high-output varicosities. Calcium indicators were loaded into proximal and central nerve terminals by axonal injection to compare the relative differences in calcium buildup during stimulation. Presynaptic calcium signals were larger for proximal varicosities than for central varicosities.