The cell interactions that specify the spatial pattern of vulval precursor cell (VPC) fates differ between the nematodes Oscheius tipulae CEW1 and Caenorhabditis elegans. In the former, the centered pattern of fates is obtained by two successive inductions from the gonadal anchor cell, whereas in the latter, a single inductive step by the anchor cell (EGF-Ras-MAP kinase pathway) can act as a morphogen and is reinforced by lateral signaling between the vulval precursors (Notch pathway). We performed a genetic screen for vulva mutants in O. tipulae CEW1. Here we present the mutants that specifically affect the vulval induction mechanisms. Phenotypic and epistatic analyses of these mutants show that both vulval induction steps share common components, one of which appears to be MEK kinase(s). Moreover, the inductive pathway (including MEK kinase) influences the competence of the vulval precursor cells and more strikingly their division pattern as well, irrespective of their vulval fate. Finally, a comparison of vulval mutant phenotypes obtained in C. elegans and O. tipulae CEW1 highlights the evolution of vulval induction mechanisms between the two species.