Basal body replication in the naked biflagellate green alga Spermatozopsis similis was analyzed using standard electron microscopy and immunogold localization of centrin, an ubiquitous centrosomal protein, and p210, a recently characterized basal apparatus component of S. similis. Fibrous disks representing probasal bodies appear at the proximal end of parental basal bodies at the end of interphase and development proceeds via a ring of nine singlet microtubules. Nascent basal bodies dock early to the plasma membrane but p210, usually present in basal body-membrane-linkers of S. similis, was already present on the cytosolic basal body precursors. In addition to the distal connecting fiber and the nuclear basal body connectors (NBBC) of the parental basal bodies, centrin was present on the fibrous probasal bodies, in a linker between probasal bodies and the basal apparatus, in the connecting fiber between nascent basal bodies and their corresponding parent, and, finally, a fiber linking the nascent basal bodies to the nucleus. This NBBC probably is present only in mitotic cells. During elongation a cartwheel of up to seven layers is formed, protruding from the proximal end of nascent basal bodies. Microtubules develop on the cartwheel indicating that it temporarily functions as a microtubule organizing center (MTOC). These microtubules and probably the cartwheels, touch the nuclear envelope at both sides of a nuclear projection. We propose that spindle assembly is initiated at these attachment sites. During metaphase, the spindle poles were close to thylakoid-free lobes of the chloroplast, and the basal bodies were not in the spindle axis. The role of nascent basal bodies during the initial steps of spindle assembly is discussed.