When times get bad – if food is limited, for example – Caenorhabditis elegans larvae enter the dauer larval stage 3 for several months, rather than racing through the normal larval stage 3 in a few hours. Attenuation of daf-2 insulin/IGF or daf-7TGFβ-like signaling pathways causes developmental arrest at the dauer stage – as does loss of function of DAF-9, a cytochrome P450 related to steroidogenic hydroxylases. Two papers in this issue implicate DAF-9 in the production of important hormonal signals that regulate dauer diapause. On p. 1765, Gerisch and Antebi show that daf-9 overexpressed constitutively in the hypodermis– the tissue in which endogenous daf-9 expression is most visibly regulated by environmental cues – acts systemically to rescue the dauer phenotypes of daf-9, daf-2 and daf-7 mutants. This indicates that DAF-9 acts downstream of insulin/IGF and TGFβ signaling during dauer regulation. Mak and Ruvkun present similar results on p. 1777, and both research teams show that hypodermal daf-9 expression is strictly dependent on daf-12, the nuclear receptor for the hormone produced by DAF-9.