The zona pellucida glycoconjugate content of several marsupial species was investigated using differential lectin histochemistry. Ovaries from fat-tailed dunnarts, a southern brown bandicoot, grey short-tailed opossums, brushtail possums, ringtail possums, koalas and eastern grey kangaroos were fixed, embedded in paraffin wax, sectioned and stained with ten fluorescein isothiocyanate-conjugated lectins. Sections were also incubated with either neuraminidase or saponified, respectively, before incubation with the lectins to identify saccharide residues masked by sialic acids or O-acetyl groups on sialic acids. The zonae pellucidae surrounding the oocytes of the marsupials demonstrated interspecific variation in glycoconjugate content, with mannose-containing glycoconjugates exhibiting the greatest variation. Some of the zona pellucida glycoconjugates of all species, except those of the opossums, were masked by sialic acid with an increase in fluorescence with lectins from Arachis hypogea (PNA), and Glycine max (SBA), after desialylation. The disaccharide beta-galactose(1-4)N-acetyl-D-glucosamine appeared to be conformationally masked by O-acetyl groups of sialic acids in the zonae pellucidae of all species, with an increase in fluorescence with the lectin from Erythrina cristagalli (ECA), after saponification. Similar intensity and localization of beta-(1-4)-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, as shown by staining of the lectin from Triticum vulgaris (WGA), to the inner and outer regions of the zona pellucida, were found to those reported in eutherian species. WGA fluorescence became uniform throughout the zonae pellucidae after saponification, indicating differential O-acetylation of sialic acids on the internal compartment of the zonae pellucidae.