The polarity mutants pk, sple, mwh, fz and in alter the orientations of cuticular processes in several regions of the body. The mutant polarity patterns are constant and do not result from alterations in cell lineage. Polarity patterns are locus specific rather than allele specific (new alleles express the same polarity patterns as the original alleles). In the wing, polarity formation is largely cell autonomous and is independent of the anteroposterior compartment boundary. By genetic and physiological manipulation it is shown that the mutant polarity patterns are unaffected by the size of the wing blade or the number of cells that form it. Mutants which remove parts of the wing margin or alter the distribution pattern of wing veins do not alter the mutant polarity patterns. Thus, neither the wing margins nor the pattern of vein tissue act as spatial references for polarity formation. The determination of mutant polarity patterns is not dependent on the overall topology of the wing blade but is region-specific. The mutants affect several independent functions. The possible wild-type function of the loci in polarity formation is discussed.