The Drosophila homologue of the epidermal growth factor receptor (DEGFr or DER, also called torpedo or top) has many mutant alleles that cause either embryonic lethality (both early and late), pupal lethality or female sterility, possibly corresponding to degrees of hypomorphism. We have studied the clonal behaviour of some lethal alleles in genetic mosaics in the imaginal development of thorax, head and tergite epidermis. These alleles cause reduced cell viability to different degrees (measured in frequency and size of clones), smaller cell sizes, abnormal patterning of sensory-organ differentiation and lack of differentiation of macro-chaetae and veins. These effects are cell-autonomous but also cause abnormal differentiation in wild-type cells surrounding the clones. In addition, we have studied the phenotypes of double mutant combinations of viable top alleles with wing-pattern mutants, some related to other Drosophila proto-oncogenes, to reveal gene interactions in the role(s) of DER in cell proliferation and differentiation. We discuss how those complex cell-behaviour phenotypes and genetic interactions are related to the molecular nature of the DER.