Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine, a cyclonitramine commonly known as RDX, is used in the production of military munitions. Contamination of soil, sediment, and ground and surface waters with RDX has been reported in different places around the world. Acute and subacute toxicities of RDX have been relatively well documented in terrestrial vertebrates, but among aquatic vertebrates the information available is limited. The objective of this study was to characterize the acute toxicity of RDX to larval zebrafish. Mortality (LC50) and incidence of vertebral column deformities (EC50) were two of the end points measured in this study. The 96-h LC50 was estimated at 22.98 and 25.64 mg l-1 in two different tests. The estimated no-observed-effective- concentration (NOEC) values of RDX on lethality were 13.27 ?? 0.05 and 15.32 ?? 0.30 mg l-1; and the lowest-observed-effective- concentration (LOEC) values were 16.52 ?? 0.05 and 19.09 ?? 0.23 mg l-1 in these two tests, respectively. The 96-h EC50 for vertebral deformities on survivors from one of the acute lethality tests was estimated at 20.84 mg l-1, with NOEC and LOEC of 9.75 ?? 0.34 and 12.84 ?? 0.34 mg l-1, respectively. Behavioral aberrations were also noted in this acute toxicity study, including the occurrence of whirling movement and lethargic behavior. The acute effects of RDX on survival, incidence of deformities, and behavior of larval zebrafish occurred at the high end of the most frequently reported concentrations of RDX in aquatic environments. The chronic effects of RDX in aquatic vertebrates need to be determined for an adequate assessment of the ecological risk of environmental RDX. ?? 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.