Studying the relationship between development and evolution and its role in the generation of biological diversity has been reinvigorated by new techniques in genetics and molecular biology. However, exploiting these techniques to examine the evolution of development requires that a great deal of detail be known regarding the embryonic development of multiple species studied in a phylogenetic context. Crustaceans are an enormously successful group of arthropods and extant species demonstrate a wide diversity of morphologies and life histories. One of the most speciose orders within the Crustacea is the Amphipoda. The embryonic development of a new crustacean model system, the amphipod Parhyale hawaiensis, is described in a series of discrete stages easily identified by examination of living animals and the use of commonly available molecular markers on fixed specimens. Complete embryogenesis occurs in 250 h at 26 degrees C and has been divided into 30 stages. This staging data will facilitate comparative analyses of embryonic development among crustaceans in particular, as well as between different arthropod groups. In addition, several aspects of Parhyale embryonic development make this species particularly suitable for a broad range of experimental manipulations.