A search for potent toxins that inhibit neuronal calcium channels in Drosophila melanogaster has resulted in the identification of a presynaptic neurotoxin from the venom of the hunting spider Hololena curta. Using Drosophila neuromuscular junction as an assay, presynaptic inhibitory activity was purified using gel filtration and reverse-phase HPLC. Data from gel electrophoresis indicate that the toxin is composed of two different subunits of Mr 7000 and 9000. At nanomolar concentrations the toxin produced a complete and long-lasting inhibition of synaptic transmission at the Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction without affecting the amplitudes of the spontaneously occurring miniature junction potentials. The block of transmission produced by the toxin was observed even during the direct depolarization of the motor nerve terminal. These physiological results indicate that the terminal is the site of action for the toxin. Indirect evidence using abnormally excitable Drosophila mutants suggests that the toxin is inhibiting transmitter release by altering the electrical properties of the nerve terminal rather than by interfering with nonelectrical events that may occur subsequent to calcium influx. All of the actions of the Hololena toxin can be explained by a specific and direct effect on presynaptic calcium channels in Drosophila motor neurons.