This report describes mutants of the zebrafish having phenotypes causing a general arrest in early morphogenesis. These mutants identify a group of loci making up about 20% of the loci identified by mutants with visible morphological phenotypes within the first day of development. There are 12 Class I mutants, which fall into 5 complementation groups and have cells that lyse before morphological defects are observed. Mutants at three loci, speed bump, ogre and zombie, display abnormal nuclei. The 8 Class II mutants, which fall into 6 complementation groups, arrest development before cell lysis is observed. These mutants seemingly stop development in the late segmentation stages, and maintain a body shape similar to a 20 hour embryo. Mutations in speed bump, ogre, zombie, specter, poltergeist and troll were tested for cell lethality by transplanting mutant cells into wild-type hosts. With poltergeist, transplanted mutant cells all survive. The remainder of the mutants tested were autonomously but conditionally lethal: mutant cells, most of which lyse, sometimes survive to become notochord, muscles, or, in rare cases, large neurons, all cell types which become postmitotic in the gastrula. Some of the genes of the early arrest group may be necessary for progression though the cell cycle; if so, the survival of early differentiating cells may be based on having their terminal mitosis before the zygotic requirement for these genes.