Development and maturation of the nascent cardiovascular system requires the recruitment of mural cells (MCs) around the vascular tree in a process called vascular myogenesis. Understanding the origin and development of vascular MCs has been hampered by difficulties in observing these cells in vivo and performing defined genetic and experimental manipulations in available model organisms. Here, we investigate the origin of vascular MCs using molecular and genetic tools in zebrafish. We show that vascular MCs are present around the lateral dorsal aortae (LDA) and anterior mesenteric arteries (AMA) of developing animals, and that they also contribute to the outflow tract of the developing heart and ventral aorta (VA). Genetic data indicate that the vascular MCs of the LDA and AMA do not arise from blood or endothelial progenitors but from other derivatives of the lateral plate mesoderm. We further show that zebrafish vascular MCs share many of the morphological, molecular and functional characteristics of vascular smooth muscle cells and pericytes found in higher vertebrates. These data establish the zebrafish as a useful cellular and genetic model to study vascular myogenesis as well as tumor angiogenesis and other MC-associated diseases.