Purification of a hemolymph protein (hemolymph trophic factor, or HTF) from last instar larvae of Manduca sexta was achieved using Sephadex G15-120 gel filtration and DEAE anion exchange chromatography. Homogeneity was visualized using SDS gel electrophoresis and ampholytic chromatofocusing. HTF was estimated to be a tetrameric protein with a molecular weight of 286 K and a Stokes' radius of 55.3 × 10-8 cm by agarose bead gel filtration; chromatofocusing suggests an isoionic point > 10. Polyclonal antibodies to HTF were prepared in rabbits and an ELISA was developed. The ELISA was used to titer HTF during the last larval instar and day 1 and 14 of the pupal stage and estimates a maximum of 1.5 mg/ml larval hemolymph on day 6 with a smaller larval peak of 0.75 mg/ml at day 3 and titers of 0.70 and 0.35 mg/ml on the 2 pupal days, respectively. ELISA of aqueous extracts of larval fat body, epidermis, and cuticle demonstrate that HTF comprises nearly a third of the soluble fat body protein and is a lesser component of epidermis and cuticle. The physiological role of HTF has not yet been determined. © 1990.