The toxicity of 23 species of shallow-water antarctic echinoderms from McMurdo Sound was investigated using Gambusia affinis (Vertebrata: Pisces) as a test organism. Ichthyotoxicity assays were conducted on the body wall tissues of thirteen species of asteroids and three species of holothuroids, the tests of three species of echinoids and the arms of three species of ophiuroids and one species of crinoid. Patterns of toxicity were class-specific, with varying degrees of toxicity occurring exclusively among the Asteroidea and Holothuroidea. Seven of the thirteen species of asteroids were mildly to highly toxic (54%), while one of the three holothuroids was mildly and one highly toxic. Toxicity was not related to the level of calcification of the body wall and energy level in asteroids. The only armored asteroid, Notasterias armata, was non-toxic. The occurrence of toxins in the body tissues of antarctic echinoderms is similar in pattern and frequency with that of temperate and tropical species. © 1989 Springer-Verlag.