Hypercephaly, in the form of lateral extensions of the head capsule, is observed in several families of Diptera. A particularly exaggerated form is found in Diopsid stalk-eyed flies, in which both eyes and antennae are laterally displaced at the end of stalks. The processes of early development and specification of the head capsule in stalk-eyed flies are similar to those in Drosophila melanogaster. I Drosophila the homeobox gene ocelliless (oc) shows a mediolateral gradient of expression across the region of the eye-antennal imaginal disc that gives rise to the head capsule and specifies the development of different head structures. The genes and developmental mechanisms that subsequently define head shape in Drosophila and produce hypercephaly in stalk-eyed flies remain unclear. To address this, we performed an enhancer trap screen for Drosophila genes expressed in the same region as oc and identified the homeobox gene defective proventriculus (dve). In the eye-antennal imaginal disc, dve is coexpressed with oc in the region that gives rise to the head capsule and is active along the medial edge of the antennal disc and in the first antennal segment. Analyses of dve expression in mutant eye-antennal discs are consistent with it acting downstream of oc in the development of the head capsule. We confirm that orthologues of dve are present in a diverse panel of five stalk-eyed fly species and analyse patterns of dve sequence variation within the clade. Our results indicate that dve expression and sequence are both highly conserved in stalk-eyed flies.