Dectin-2 is a recently described dendritic-cell-associated receptor, suggested to be involved in the initiation and maintenance of UV-induced tolerance. To understand the physiological relevance of the proposed functions of this C-type lectin-like receptor, we have generated monoclonal antibodies against its extracellular domain and performed a detailed study of its expression. In naive mice, Dectin-2 has a novel distribution pattern compared with other myeloid markers, but is predominantly expressed by a wide variety of tissue macrophages. Its expression was limited on dendritic cells and notably absent from brain microglia and choroid plexus or meningeal macrophages. On peripheral blood monocytes, Dectin-2 expression was very low on the surface but was transiently and markedly up-regulated on induction of inflammation in vivo using a variety of stimuli. This change in Dectin-2 expression occurs on 'inflammatory' monocytes after arrival at the inflammatory lesion as demonstrated by adoptive cell-transfer studies, and is independent of whether the macrophages elicited by the stimuli ultimately expressed Dectin-2. These observations show Dectin-2 expression to be characteristic of monocyte activation/maturation at an inflammatory lesion and provide a new perspective on the interpretation of Dectin-2 function in vivo.