To determine the potential risk of pesticides frequently used in Indonesia, a new toxicity test was developed using the indigenous freshwater shrimp Caridina laevis, which is representative of tropical ecosystems. The test species could easily be maintained in the laboratory. Acute toxicity tests with different insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides assessing adult survival after 24 and 96 h of static exposure showed low control mortality (<10%) and good reproducibility for diazinon. Juvenile C. laevis appeared approximately two to three times more sensitive to diazinon than adult ones. Compared to other species of freshwater crustacean commonly used in standard aquatic toxicity tests, C. laevis showed similar sensitivity for diazinon and lambda cyhalothrin, much greater sensitivity for endosulfan and paraquat and much lower sensitivity for carbofuran. It may be concluded that the acute toxicity test using C. laevis may be a suitable alternative for determining the potential risk of chemicals under tropical conditions. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.