Drosophila muscles originate from the fusion of two types of myoblasts, founder cells (FCs) and fusion-competent myoblasts (FCMs). To better understand muscle diversity and morphogenesis, we performed a large-scale gene expression analysis to identify genes differentially expressed in FCs and FCMs. We employed embryos derived from Toll10b mutants to obtain primarily muscle-forming mesoderm, and expressed activated forms of Ras or Notch to induce FC or FCM fate, respectively. The transcripts present in embryos of each genotype were compared by hybridization to cDNA microarrays. Among the 83 genes differentially expressed, we found genes known to be enriched in FCs or FCMs, such as heartless or hibris, previously characterized genes with unknown roles in muscle development, and predicted genes of unknown function. Our studies of newly identified genes revealed new patterns of gene expression restricted to one of the two types of myoblasts, and also striking muscle phenotypes. Whereas genes such as phyllopod play a crucial role during specification of particular muscles, others such as tartan are necessary for normal muscle morphogenesis.