This paper studies the surface morphology of the developing gonadal ridge in X. laevis between stages 44 and 49 (Nieuwkoop & Faber, 1956). During this period the primordial germ cells (PGCs) move laterally from the dorsal mesentery of the gut to the position of the presumptive gonadal ridge. As they do so the coelomic lining cells lateral to the mesentery differentiate into a specialized, longitudinally orientated band, stretching nearly the full length of the dorsal mesentery on each side. The PGCs migrate beneath this band of cells, which thus becomes the germinal epithelium of the gonadal ridge. We have demonstrated by irradiation experiments that this specialized band of cells can differentiate independently, in the absence of the PGCs.