The vitelline layers (VL) of unfertilized sea urchin eggs were isolated, and the diversity of their polypeptide constitutents estimated by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. At least 25 components are reproducibly observed. While VL polypeptides are almost certainly synthesized in the growing oocyte, they are not among the more prevalent newly synthesized proteins detected in oocytes that were isolated and labeled in vitro for 4 hr. A set of monoclonal antibodies was raised against VL components and partially characterized. The 31 monoclonals analyzed fell into 11 classes with respect to their avidity for VL proteins solubilized under mild and under strongly denaturing conditions, and to their reactions with surface components of the VLs of living eggs. Fluorescence microscopy showed diverse patterns of surface reactivity when different monoclonal antibodies were compared. Two of the monoclonal antibodies reacted with specific sets of three proteins each on VL protein blots. It is concluded that the VL is a complex structure containing a large number of different polypeptide components, the genes for several of which should now be experimentally accessible.