The meiotic phenotypes of two mutant alleles of the mei-W68 gene, 1 and L1, were studied by genetics and by serial-section electron microscopy. Despite no or reduced exchange, both mutant alleles have normal synaptonemal complex. However, neither has any early recombination nodules; instead, both exhibit high numbers of very long (up to 2 microm) structures here named "noodles." These are hypothesized to be formed by the unchecked extension of identical but much shorter structures ephemerally seen in wild type, which may be precursors of early recombination nodules. Although the mei-W68(L1) allele is identical to the mei-W68(1) allele in both the absence of early recombination nodules and a high frequency of noodles (i.e., it is amorphic for the noodle phene), it is hypomorphic in its effects on exchange and late recombination nodules. The differential effects of this allele on early and late recombination nodules are consistent with the hypothesis that Drosophila females have two separate recombination pathways-one for simple gene conversion, the other for exchange.