To identify genes necessary for establishing connections in the Drosophila sensory nervous system, we designed a screen for mutations affecting development of the larval visual system. The larval visual system has a simple and stereotypic morphology, can be recognized histologically by a variety of techniques, and is unnecessary for viability. Therefore, it provides an opportunity to identify genes involved in all stages of development of a simple, specific neuronal connection. By direct observation of the larval visual system in mutant embryos, we identified 24 mutations affecting its development; 13 of these are larval visual system-specific. These 13 mutations can be grouped phenotypically into five classes based on their effects on location, path or morphology of the larval visual system nerves and organs. These mutants and phenotypic classifications provide a context for further analysis of neuronal development, pathfinding and target recognition.