The development of neural crest-derived pigment cells has been studied extensively as a model for cellular differentiation, disease and environmental adaptation. Neural crest-derived chromatophores in the zebrafish (Danio rerio) consist of three types: melanophores, xanthophores and iridiphores. We have identified the zebrafish mutant endzone (enz), that was isolated in a screen for mutants with neural crest development phenotypes, based on an abnormal melanophore pattern. We have found that although wild-type numbers of chromatophore precursors are generated in the first day of development and migrate normally in enz mutants, the numbers of all three chromatophore cell types that ultimately develop are reduced. Further, differentiated melanophores and xanthophores subsequently lose dendricity, and iridiphores are reduced in size. We demonstrate that enz function is required cell autonomously by melanophores and that the enz locus is located on chromosome 7. In addition, zebrafish enz appears to selectively regulate chromatophore development within the neural crest lineage since all other major derivatives develop normally. Our results suggest that enz is required relatively late in the development of all three embryonic chromatophore types and is normally necessary for terminal differentiation and the maintenance of cell size and morphology. Thus, although developmental regulation of different chromatophore sublineages in zebrafish is in part genetically distinct, enz provides an example of a common regulator of neural crest-derived chromatophore differentiation and morphology.