In Drosophila, light affects circadian behavioral rhythms via at least two distinct mechanisms. One of them relies on the visual phototransduction cascade. The other involves a presumptive photopigment, cryptochrome (cry), expressed in lateral brain neurons that control behavioral rhythms. We show here that cry is expressed in most, if not all, larval and adult neuronal groups expressing the PERIOD (PER) protein, with the notable exception of larval dorsal neurons (DN2s) in which PER cycles in antiphase to all other known cells. Forcing cry expression in the larval DN2s gave them a normal phase of PER cycling, indicating that their unique antiphase rhythm is related to their lack of cry expression. We were able to directly monitor CRY protein in Drosophila brains in situ. It appeared highly unstable in the light, whereas in the dark, it accumulated in both the nucleus and the cytoplasm, including some neuritic projections. We also show that dorsal PER-expressing brain neurons, the adult DN1s, are the only brain neurons to coexpress the CRY protein and the photoreceptor differentiation factor GLASS. Studies of various visual system mutants and their combination with the cry(b) mutation indicated that the adult DN1s contribute significantly to the light sensitivity of the clock controlling activity rhythms, and that this contribution depends on CRY. Moreover, all CRY-independent light inputs into this central behavioral clock were found to require the visual system. Finally, we show that the photoreceptive DN1 neurons do not behave as autonomous oscillators, because their PER oscillations in constant darkness rapidly damp out in the absence of pigment-dispersing-factor signaling from the ventral lateral neurons.