Merocyanin 540 (Mc540) is a fluorescent compound which is thought to bind to membranes in which there are substantial amounts of lipid in the lipid-crystalline phase. It is shown here to be of value in detecting the transformation by both mechanical and skin-penetration methods of the cercaria to the schistosomulum. The cercaria does not appear to bind Mc540, but the schistosomulum, binds Mc540 initially, in its anterior region, and at later times over the entire surface. The suggestion that transformation involves changes in the surface membrane lipid phase from gel to liquid-crystalline phase is supported by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching results with 5-
N-(octadecanoyl)-amino fluorescein, a lipophilic dye which appears to be immobile in the cercaria, but fully mobile in the 40 min schistosomulum.