Understanding the direct effects of melatonin on vertebrate ovulation remains a challenge. The present study provides the first characterization of the role of melatonin in ovulation using the teleost medaka. The melatonin receptor antagonist luzindole inhibited in vitro follicle ovulation. In the preovulatory follicles, arylalkylamineN-acetyltransferase 1a and hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase 2, the enzymes responsible for melatonin synthesis, were expressed in the granulosa cells throughout the 24 h spawning cycle. The granulosa cells of the follicle also expressed the melatonin receptor 1a-a. An in vitro characterization study using medaka OLHNI-2 cells revealed that melatonin and luzindole act as an agonist and an antagonist, respectively, of the melatonin receptor. The intracellular cAMP levels in these cells were reduced after melatonin treatment. The expression of cytosolic phospholipase A2 group 4a (Pla2g4a), the enzyme producing arachidonic acid (cyclooxygenase-2 substrate), was inhibited in the granulosa cells in luzindole-treated follicles. Follicular prostaglandin E2 levels and in vitro follicle ovulation were suppressed in follicles isolated at 12 h prior to ovulation and incubated with the Pla2g4a inhibitor AACOCF3. The G-actin:F-actin ratios in follicular cells increased with approaching ovulation, but this increase was suppressed after luzindole treatment. The phosphorylation of moesin, an ezrin-radixin-moesin protein, was inhibited in the follicular cells in luzindole-treated follicles. These results indicate a dual role for melatonin in medaka ovulation: melatonin ensures prostaglandin E2 synthesis throughout the spawning cycle and induces actin cytoskeleton rearrangement in the follicular cells at ovulation.