The spectral sensitivities of retinal cones isolated from goldfish (Carassius auratus) retinas were measured in the range 277-737 nm by recording membrane photocurrents with suction pipette electrodes (SPE). Cones were identified with lambda max (+/- S.D.) at 623 +/- 6.9 nm, 537 +/- 4.7 nm, 447 +/- 7.7 nm, and about 356 nm (three cells). Two cells (lambda max 572 and 576 nm) possibly represent genetic polymorphism. A single A2 template fits the alpha-band of P447(2), P537(2), and P623(2). HPLC analysis showed 4% retinal96% 3-dehydroretinal. Sensitivity at 280 nm is nearly half that at the lambda max in the visible. The lambda max of the beta-band (in nm) is a linear function of the lambda max of the alpha-band and follows the same relation as found for A1-based cone pigments of a cyprinid fish.