Structural synapses are key regulators of information flow in neuronal networks. To understand the function and formation of neuronal circuits, the development and function of synapses have therefore been intensely studied in both vertebrate and invertebrate species. Precise descriptions of synapses and their amenability to genetic analysis in the model organism Drosophila provide an efficient platform from which to explore mechanisms and principles of synapse formation, which find many counterparts in other animals. Here we summarise our knowledge of the structure of Drosophila synapses. Focussing on neuromuscular junctions and photoreceptor synapses, we provide an overview of mechanisms underlying the development of synaptic structure in Drosophila. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.