Juvenile male western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) were exposed to different concentrations of 17α-ethynyl estradiol (EE2) in the diet during the period of sexual maturation. A clear inhibiting influence of EE2 on sexual development was apparent. The proportion of males in each treatment group that failed to complete gonopodial development during the 150-day observation period increased significantly with EE2 concentration. There were significant nonlinear trends toward shorter gonopodia in groups exposed to higher EE2 concentrations. Vitellogenin (VTG) was detectable in the blood of all fish exposed to 1.0 or more μg EE2/g food and the concentration increased dramatically with increasing EE2 exposure. A significant negative association was seen between EE2 concentration and spermatophore counts. This study has demonstrated deleterious effects of EE2 exposure on sexual maturation and several indirect measures of reproductive fitness. It supports the biological relevance of vitellogenin in the blood and reduced gonopodium length as biomarkers for estrogen exposure and endocrine disruption in mosquitofish. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.