Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signalling plays a major role during early vertebrate development. It is involved in the specification of the mesoderm, control of morphogenetic movements, patterning of the anterior-posterior axis, and neural induction. In mammals, 22 FGF ligands have been identified, which can be grouped into seven subfamilies according to their sequence homology and function. We have cloned 17 fgf genes from Xenopus tropicalis and have analysed their temporal expression by RT-PCR and spatial expression by whole mount in situ hybridisation at key developmental stages. It reveals the diverse expression pattern of fgf genes during early embryonic development. Furthermore, our analysis shows the transient nature of expression of several fgfs in a number of embryonic tissues. This study constitutes the most comprehensive description of the temporal and spatial expression pattern of fgf ligands and receptors during vertebrate development to date. Developmental Dynamics 238:1467–1479, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.