The effects of 17alpha-methyltestosterone on seminal vesicle development in the African catfish, Clarias gariepinus, were investigated in an attempt to improve semen collection from this species. Treatment of larvae with dietary 17alpha-methyltestosterone at 50 mg kg(-1) for days 12-33 or days 12-40 after hatching, or at 20 mg kg(-1) for days 12-26, 12-33, 12-40 or 12-47 after hatching inhibited the development of the seminal vesicle finger-like extensions in male catfish, but did not affect the sex ratio. The minimum effective dose and period of treatment to inhibit seminal vesicle development in all male catfish treated with 17alpha-methyltestosterone was 20 mg kg(-1) for days 12-40 after hatching. Male catfish from this treatment group developed normal testes that, in some cases, contained a few oocytes, which tended to disappear before sexual maturation. After sexual maturation, the semen release response was evaluated in males with incomplete seminal vesicles. Fluid with viable spermatozoa was obtained after two consecutive injections of carp pituitary suspension, from 10 of 19 males that had been fed 20 mg 17alpha-methyltestosterone kg(-1) for days 12-40 or days 12-47 after hatching, but from only 4 of 15 males that did not receive any dietary steroid. Intratesticular semen quality was not affected by 17alpha-methyltestosterone treatment. The results of this study demonstrate that the absence of seminal vesicle extensions induced by treatment with 17alpha-methyltestosterone facilitated the collection of semen by stripping from this species of fish.