Dose related mortality and cholinesterase effects of parathion, methyl parathion, azinphos-methyl and malathion on Anolis carolinensis were investigated. The comparative effects of the four compounds on fish, birds and mammals are well known, but the effects of organophosphates on reptiles have not been studied critically. Sensitivity and patterns of mortality from exposure to the pesticides resemble those of birds and mammals rather than those of other poikilothermic vertebrates. Possible symptoms of epinephrine accumulation were observed in exposed animals; this side effect is consistent with the known mechanisms of the pesticides. Our findings indicate that brain cholinesterase activity is related to dose, that 50% inhibition of cholinesterase is associated with death and that 40% inhibition indicates sublethal exposure. Anolis lizards are frequently exposed to pesticides in the field and they may be useful in monitoring the hazards posed to a variety of wildlife species.