We have monitored the pattern of identified glomeruli in the olfactory bulbs of newborn, juvenile, and adult mice over intervals of several hours to several weeks. Our purpose was to assess the development and stability of these complex units in the mammalian brain. Glomeruli can be observed by vital fluorescent staining and laser-scanning confocal microscopy without causing acute or long-term damage to brain tissue. Repeated observation of bulbs in the same animals between birth and 3 weeks of age showed that this region of the brain develops by progressive addition of these units to the original population. This increment occurs by the genesis of smaller new glomeruli between larger existing ones; no elimination of glomeruli was observed during this process. Finally, no addition (or loss) of glomeruli occurred in adult animals over a 2 week interval; once established, the number, size, and pattern of glomeruli are evidently stable.