The behavioral effects of β-endorphin, enkephalin analogs, morphine and etorphine were briefly compared. In the tail-flick test in mice and in the wet shake test in rats, β-endorphin and D-Ala2-D-Leu5-enkephalin had equal antinociceptive activity; D-Ala2 -Met-enkephalinamide and D-Leu5-enkephalin were less active. The order of activity of the enkephalin analogs and opiate alkaloids for stimulating locomotor activity in mice paralleled their analgesic activities; β-endorphin, however, had only minimal stimulatory actions. Morphine sulfate, 50 μg injected into the periaqueductal gray, produced hyperactivity but this effect was not observed with etorphine or opioid peptides. By contrast, "wet dog" shakes was observed with the opioid peptides but not with either opiate alkaloid. These heterogenous behavioral responses, which were all antagonized by naloxone, indicate that multiple types of receptors mediate the effects of opiates in the central nervous system.