The Drosophila notum, the dorsal body wall of the thorax, is subdivided genetically into longitudinal domains (Calleja, M., Moreno, E., Pelaz, S. and Morata, G. (1996) Science 274, 252-255). Two homeobox genes clustered in the iroquois complex, araucan and caupolican, regulate proneural genes and are required for development of sensory bristles in the lateral notum (Gomez-Skarmeta, J. L., del Corral, R. D., de la Calle-Mustienes, E., Ferres-Marco, D. and Modolell, J. (1996) Cell 85, 95-105). An iroquois-related homeobox gene, mirror, was recently isolated and is localized close to the iroquois complex region (McNeil, H., Yang, C.-H., Brodsky, M., Ungos, J. and Simon, M. A. (1997) Genes and Development 11, 1073-1082; this study). We show that mirror is required for the formation of the alula and a subset of sensory bristles in the lateral domain of the notum. Genetic analysis suggests that mirror and the other iroquois genes interact to form the alula as well as the sensory organs. Based on similarities between mirror and the iroquois genes in their genetic map positions, expression, protein structure and function, mirror is considered a new member of the iroquois complex and is involved in prepatterning sensory precursor cells in the lateral notum.