semang (sag), a mutation isolated as a suppressor of Drosophila Src42A, has previously been shown to affect some receptor tyrosine kinase mediated embryonic processes. Here we show that sag specifically affects the development of R1, R6 and R7 photoreceptor cells in a cell-autonomous manner. These cells are absent in the mutant at the time when they normally appear in the ommatidial pre-clusters. Genetic analyses suggest that sag functions downstream of, or parallel to, Mapk and Yan in the photoreceptor differentiation pathway. The autonomous requirement of sag for R1/R6/R7 development could be explained by a selective impairment of the late, but not early, rounds of Egfr-induced precursor cell assembly by the sag mutations. Egfr signaling is highly regulated by autocrine or paracrine mechanisms in different cells. Knowing that the photoreceptor cluster formation is a complex process involving dynamic changes in cell-cell contact, our hypothesis is that the sag alleles affected certain special aspects of Egfr-signaling that are unique for the recruitment of R1/R6/R7 cells.