The effect of caudate nucleus (CN)-injections of the glutamate agonist dl-α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA), viz. an agonist of quisqualate receptors, on switching behaviour was investigated: first, cats had to switch from hanging with the forepaws on the bar to climbing on the bar; then, they had to switch to walking; finally, they had to switch to jumping off the bar. AMPA induced limb deficits, i.e. unilateral incorrect or absent placing of the fore- and/or hindlimb, in part of the tested cats; in the remainder of the tested animals AMPA reduced climbing time. Limb deficits were prevented by the broad-spectrum glutamate antagonist kynurenic acid (KYN) and by the selective NMDA antagonist d-2-amino-7-phosphonoheptanoate. In all cats AMPA increased the number of head movements as well as that of walking-restarts. These effects were counteracted only by KYN. These data show that part of the AMPA-induced effects were selectively mediated by quisqualate receptors. The present data are discussed in view of the role of the caudate nucleus in switching behaviour.