Signaling between neurons requires highly specialized subcellular structures, including dendrites and axons. Dendrites exhibit diverse morphologies yet little is known about the mechanisms controlling dendrite formation in vivo. We have developed methods to visualize the stereotyped dendritic morphogenesis in living Drosophila embryos. Dendrite development is altered in prospero mutants and in transgenic embryos expressing a constitutively active form of the small GTPase cdc42. From a genetic screen, we have identified several genes that control different aspects of dendrite development including dendritic outgrowth, branching, and routing. These genes include kakapo, a large cytoskeletal protein related to plectin and dystrophin; flamingo, a seven-transmembrane protein containing cadherin-like repeats; enabled, a substrate of the tyrosine kinase Abl; and nine potentially novel loci. These findings begin to reveal the molecular mechanisms controlling dendritic morphogenesis.