In the development of Drosophila, the activation of the EGFr pathway elicits different cellular responses at different times and in different tissues. A variety of approaches have been used to identify the mechanisms that confer this response specificity. We have analysed the specification of bract cells in Drosophila legs. We observed that mechanosensory bristles induced bract fate in neighbouring epidermal cells, and that the RAS/MAPK pathway mediated this induction. We have identified Spitz and EGFr as the ligand and the receptor of this signalling, and by ubiquitous expression of constitutively activated forms of components of the pathway we have found that the acquisition of bract fate is temporally and spatially restricted. We have also studied the role of the poxn gene in the inhibition of bract induction in chemosensory bristles.