The motor patterns produced by the stomatogastric ganglion (STG) are strongly influenced by descending modulatory inputs from anterior ganglia. With these inputs intact, in control saline, the motor patterns produced by the stomatogastric nervous system of embryonic and larval lobsters are slower and less regular than those of adult lobsters. We studied the effects of the hormonal modulator, crustacean cardioactive peptide (CCAP) on the discharge patterns of STG motor patterns in embryos, larvae, and adult Maine lobsters, Homarus americanus, with the anterior inputs present and absent. In adults, CCAP initiated robust pyloric rhythms from STGs isolated from their descending control and modulatory inputs. Likewise, CCAP initiated robust activity in isolated embryonic and larval STGs. Nonetheless, quantitative analyses revealed that the frequency and regularity of the STG motor neuron discharge seen in the presence of CCAP in isolated STGs from embryos were significantly lower than those seen late in larval life and in adults under the same conditions. In contrast, when the descending control and modulatory pathways to the STG were left intact, the embryonic and larval burst frequency seen in the presence of CCAP was increased by CCAP, whereas the burst frequency in adults was decreased by CCAP, so that in CCAP the frequencies at all stages were statistically indistinguishable. These data argue that immature embryonic motor patterns seen in the absence of CCAP are a function of immaturity in both the STG and in the descending and modulatory pathways.