Meiotic recombination plays dual roles in the evolution and stable inheritance of genomes: Recombination promotes genetic diversity by reassorting variants, and it establishes temporary connections between pairs of homologous chromosomes that ensure their future segregation. Meiotic recombination is initiated by generation of double-strand DNA breaks (DSBs) by the conserved topoisomerase-like protein Spo11. Despite strong conservation of Spo11 across eukaryotic kingdoms, auxiliary complexes that interact with Spo11 complexes to promote DSB formation are poorly conserved. Here, we identify DSB-3 as a DSB-promoting protein in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans Mutants lacking DSB-3 are proficient for homolog pairing and synapsis but fail to form crossovers. Lack of crossovers in dsb-3 mutants reflects a requirement for DSB-3 in meiotic DSB formation. DSB-3 concentrates in meiotic nuclei with timing similar to DSB-1 and DSB-2 (predicted homologs of yeast/mammalian Rec114/REC114), and DSB-1, DSB-2, and DSB-3 are interdependent for this localization. Bioinformatics analysis and interactions among the DSB proteins support the identity of DSB-3 as a homolog of MEI4 in conserved DSB-promoting complexes. This identification is reinforced by colocalization of pairwise combinations of DSB-1, DSB-2, and DSB-3 foci in structured illumination microscopy images of spread nuclei. However, unlike yeast Rec114, DSB-1 can interact directly with SPO-11, and in contrast to mouse REC114 and MEI4, DSB-1, DSB-2, and DSB-3 are not concentrated predominantly at meiotic chromosome axes. We speculate that variations in the meiotic program that have coevolved with distinct reproductive strategies in diverse organisms may contribute to and/or enable diversification of essential components of the meiotic machinery.