An ethyl methanesulfonate mutagenesis of Drosophila melanogaster was undertaken, and >3000 mutagenized second chromosomes were generated. More than 800 homozygous viable lines were established, and adults were screened directly under polarized light for muscle defects. A total of 16 mutant strains in which the indirect flight muscles were reduced in volume or disorganized or were otherwise abnormal were identified. These fell into seven recessive and one semidominant complementation groups. Five of these eight complementation groups, including the semidominant mutation, have been mapped using chromosomal deficiencies and meiotic recombination. Two complementation groups mapped close to the Myosin heavy chain gene, but they are shown to be in different loci. Developmental analysis of three mutations showed that two of these are involved in the early stages of adult myogenesis while the other showed late defects. This is the first report of results from a systematic and direct screen for recessive flight muscle defects. This mutant screen identifies genes affecting the flight muscles, which are distinct from those identified when screening for flightlessness.