Developing oral organelles of dividing Tetrahymena corlissi appear to be positioned by mechanisms which assess distances as a proportion of the organism's overall dimensions. In some respects, the cortex of this protozoan obeys the 'French flag' rule formulated by Wolpert for describing regulation of spatial proportions during differentiation of metazoan embryos. Dividing Tetrahymena of markedly different sizes occur when division is synchronized by starvation and refeeding. At the start of cell division, the distance between old and new mouthparts varies proportionately with respect to cell length. In addition, determination of the site where new oral organelles will develop is apparently not directly related to the number of ciliated basal bodies which separate the 2 sets of mouthparts; the greater the distance between the old and developing sets of mouthparts, the greater the number of ciliated basal bodies in the rows between them. It is suggested that 2 distinct mechanisms are largely responsible for defining organelle position in ciliates. The new terms structural positioning and chemical signalling are defined to describe these mechanisms.