The short distal segment of unstimulated Teleogryllus Malpighian tubules secreted hyperosmotic fluid containing primarily Mg (125mmoll(-1)), Cl (242mmoll(-1)) and Na (43mmoll(-1)). Remarkably, the volume secreted by the distal segment in unit time was independent of segment length, i.e. the volume was constant regardless of the length of the segment. Magnesium was secreted at a rate of 75.5pmolmin(-1)mm(-1); the highest rate recorded for any epithelium. Low concentrations of K (20mmoll(-1)) were present but almost no P or S. Ca (2.5mmoll(-1)) concentration was higher than in the main segment. The short distal segment secreted 100% of the Mg, 54% of the Cl and 23% of the Na secreted by the whole tubule. The main segment secreted fluid containing primarily K (199mmoll(-1)), Cl (149mmoll(-1)), Na (104mmoll(-1)) and P (48mmoll(-1)) with very low concentrations of Ca (1mmoll(-1)) and S. The main segment appeared to reabsorb a small fraction of the Mg secreted by the distal segment. The fluid secreted by the whole tubule was isosmotic and alkaline, approximately pH8.