The putative regulatory relationships between Antennapedia (Antp), spalt major (salm) and homothorax (hth) are tested with regard to the sensitive period of antenna-to-leg transformations. Although Antp expression repressed hth as predicted, contrary to expectations, hth did not show increased repression at higher Antp doses, whereas salm, a gene downstream of hth, did show such a dose response. Loss of hth allowed antenna-to-leg transformations but the relative timing of proximal–distal transformations was reversed, relative to transformations induced by ectopic Antp. Finally, overexpression of Hth was only partially able to rescue transformations induced by ectopic Antp. These results indicate that there may be additional molecules involved in antenna/leg identity and that spatial, temporal and dosage relationships are more subtle than suspected and must be part of a robust understanding of molecular network behaviour involved in determining appendage identity in Drosophila melanogaster.