One of the fundamental events in metamorphosis in insects is the replacement of larval tissues by imaginal tissues. Shortly after pupariation the imaginal discs evaginate to assume their positions at the surface of the prepupal animal. This is a very precise process that is only beginning to be understood. In Drosophila, during embryonic dorsal closure, the epithelial cells push the amnioserosa cells, which contract and eventually invaginate in the body cavity. In contrast, we find that during pupariation the imaginal cells crawl over the passive larval tissue following a very accurate temporal and spatial pattern. Spreading is driven by filopodia and actin bridges that, protruding from the leading edge, mediate the stretching of the imaginal epithelia. Although interfering with JNK (Jun N-terminal kinase) and dpp (decapentaplegic) produces similar phenotypic effects suppressing closure, their effects at the cellular level are different. The loss of JNK activity alters the adhesion properties of larval cells and leads to the detachment of the imaginal and larval tissues. The absence of dpp signaling affects the actin cytoskeleton, blocks the emission of filopodia, and promotes the collapse of the leading edge of the imaginal tissues. Interestingly, these effects are very similar to those observed after interfering with JNK and dpp signaling during embryonic dorsal closure.