The ultrastructure and physiology of the maxillary palp of Drosophila melanogaster have been studied in wild-type and lozenge mutants. Olfactory physiology in the maxillary palp is shown to depend upon the lozenge(lz) gene. Reduced response amplitudes were recorded for all odorants tested, and the physiological defect was shown to map to the lz locus. The structure of the maxillary palp sensilla is described by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) at high magnification, initially in the wild-type. A linear arrangement of pores, connected by furrows, was found in one class of sensilla, the basiconic sensilla. In the lz3 mutant, morphological alterations in the basiconic sensilla and duplications of sensilla are documented by SEM. The correlation of structural abnormalities in the lz sensilla and physiological abnormalities in odorant response are consistent with an olfactory role for the basiconic sensilla of the maxillary palp.