Lipids, in addition to being structural components of cell membranes, can act as signaling molecules. Bioactive lipids, such as sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) and lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), may act intracellularly as second messengers or be secreted and act as intercellular signaling molecules. Such molecules can affect a variety of cellular processes including apoptosis, proliferation, differentiation and motility. To investigate possible sources of bioactive lipids during development we have searched the Drosophila genome for homologs of genes involved in mammalian S1P and LPA metabolism. Here we report the developmental expression of 31 such genes by in situ hybridization to Drosophila embryos. Most show expression in specific tissues, with expression in the gut and nervous system being recurring patterns.