During oogenesis in Drosophila, germ cells appear in sequential clusters of 16 interconnected cells. The events surrounding the differentiation of these cells are not fully understood. Here we present genetic and morphological analysis of mutations in the gene stand still (stil). Through complementation analyses we have refined the location of this gene to cyological region 49B-C. Our analyses of ovaries from ethylmethane sulfonate (EMS)-induced mutant alleles of this gene suggest that mutations in the stil gene produce a wide range of phenotypic abnormalities, from the absence of germ cells in the most severe alleles, to egg chambers with cytoskeletal defects in the less severe alleles. Our results suggest a role for this gene in specifying or maintaining a cytoskeletal component, with consequences during oogenesis and possibly during germ line sex determination.