We have screened antibodies for immunocytochemical staining in the optic lobes of the brain of Drosophila melanogaster. Seven polyclonal antisera and five monoclonal antibodies are described that selectively and reproducibly stain individual cells and/or produce characteristic staining patterns in the neuropile. Such antisera are useful for the cellular characterization of molecular and structural brain defects in visual mutants. In the wildtype visual system we can at present separately stain the following: the entire complement of columnar "T1" neurons; a small set of presumptive serotonergic neurons; some 3000 cells that contain and synthesize gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA); and three groups of cells that bind antibodies to Ca2+-binding proteins. In addition, small groups of hitherto unknown tangential cells that send fine arborizations into specific strata of the medulla, and two patterns of characteristic layers in the visual neuropile have been identified by use of monoclonal antibodies generated following immunization of mice with homogenates of the brain of Drosophila melanogaster.