Several kinds of sensory organs (SOs) appear in stereotyped positions on the adult Drosophila cuticle. The generation of these SOs requires the activity of the achaete (ac) and scute (sc) genes. To investigate whether ac and sc also provide spatial information for the positioning of SOs, we have analyzed the patterns of expression of these genes in the wing imaginal disc around the time that SO precursors are being specified. We find that expression coincides with and is restricted to areas of the disc where these precursors are known to be located. In the loss-of-function sc mutant, sc RNA is depleted in a single area located in the region where the precursor for the suppressed macrochaeta should be found. Moreover, some, and probably all, SOs require expression of these genes to reach the earliest detectable differentiated state. These and other results presented here, together with the finding that expansion of the areas of ac and/or sc expression causes the development of ectopic SOs, indicate that ac and sc promote the determination of SO precursors and delimit the regions of the imaginal discs where they can develop.