We have developed methods for covalently attaching anti‐phycoerythrin (PE) MAbs to other antibodies, and for using PE or polymers of PE in conjunction with these conjugates to rapidly produce specific, high intensity fluorescent labeling of antigens. The performance of these systems was examined on the surface of microspheres and on the cell surface. The noncovalent means by which PE is incorporated into the label complex in this method makes it possible to use crude algal homogenate successfully as a source of PE in immunofluorescence assays. The intensity of labeling achieved using this method is comparable to, or in some cases better than, that obtained using a direct PE conjugate. With the aim of amplifying the intensity of fluorescence obtained, we produced two types of covalently linked complexes. These were an anti‐PE MAb, designated PE6, linked to itself (i.e., PE6—PE6), and PE linked to itself (i.e., PE—PE). When used in a twostage procedure in place of monomeric PE alone, these complexes increased the intensity of fluorescence obtained on the surface of microspheres by more than fourfold. On the cell surface, the performance of this system varied from one antigen to the next but in most cases was restricted to, at best, a 60% increase in the intensity of fluorescence and in many cases only about a 30% increase. Copyright © 1991 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.