Substitution of Rb(+) for K(+) in the incubation saline for in vitro preparations of Malpighian tubules had little effect on tubule function. Secretion rates increased by 10% for whole tubules, 9% for distal segments and 10% for main segments. In the secreted fluids Rb(+) almost completely replaced K(+). Within the cells of the main segment of the tubules Rb replaced the majority of the intracellular K. Treatment by ouabain in Rb saline resulted in a considerable increase in intracellular Na and Cl concentrations but no change in Rb concentration. This suggests that Rb(+) did not enter the cell via Na K ATPase and that the latter was not directly involved in Rb(+) secretion and by inference K(+) secretion. Substitution of Br(-) for Cl(-) in the incubation saline resulted in a 30% reduction in secretion rate from the distal segments but only a 10% reduction for the main segment. Cl(-) was almost completely replaced by Br(-) in fluid from both main and distal segments. In cells of the main segment the intracellular concentration of Br(-) did not exceed 30mmol kg(-1) dry weight and the Cl(-) concentration was unchanged in the apical region of the cell and increased in the basal region. These data suggest that Br(-) was transported across the tubule epithelium by a paracellular route and that the basal cell membrane is relatively impermeable to Cl(-). By inference Cl(-) may also be transported by a paracellular route.