The transient potassium (K+) current, or A-current (IA), plays an essential role in shaping the firing properties of identified neurons in the 14-cell pyloric network in the stomatogastric ganglion of the spiny lobster, Panulirus interruptus. The different cells in the pyloric network have distinct IAs. To begin to understand the molecular basis for IA heterogeneity, we examined the relationship between the Panulirus shal current, the IAs in the lateral pyloric (LP) and pyloric dilator (PY) cells, and the Drosophila shal current. After isolating a complete open reading frame for lobster shal 1, which shows significant sequence homology to the fly, mouse, and rat shal homologs, we used a single-cell reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction method to demonstrate that the shal 1 gene was expressed in the LP and PY cells. Next, we compared the lobster shal 1 current generated in a Xenopus oocyte expression system to the IAs in the LP and PY neurons as well as to the Drosophila shal current in Xenopus oocytes. While the transient K+ lobster shal 1 current was similar to the IAs in pyloric neurons, a detailed comparison shows that they are not identical and differ in kinetic and voltage-dependent parameters. The highly homologous lobster and fly shal genes also produce currents with some significant similarities and differences in an oocyt.