Transgenic Xenopus laevis are commonly used to study gene expression in photoreceptors, but only red rods and red cones are known to exist in the pre-metamorphic stages commonly used in transgenic studies. Using RT-PCR, this study shows that violet cones develop in early pre-metamorphic stages (Stage 35) with the red rods and red cones. Green rod development began in Stage 53 with the onset of metamorphosis. Anat Rec, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.