Characterization of sequences homologous to theDrosophila melanogaster gypsy transposable element was carried out inDrosophila subobscura (gypsyDS). They were found to be widely distributed among natural populations of this species. From Southern blot and in situ analyses, these sequences appear to be mobile in this species.GypsyDS sequences are located in both euchromatic and heterochromatic regions. A completegypsyDS sequence was isolated from aD. subobscura genomic library, and a 1.3-kb fragment which aligns with the ORF2 of theD. melanogaster gypsy element was sequenced. Comparisons of this sequence in three species (D. subobscura, D. melanogaster, and D. virilis) indicate that there is greater similarity between theD. subobscura-D. virilis sequences than betweenD. subobscura andD. melanogaster. Molecular divergence ofgypsy sequences betweenD. virilis andD. subobscura is estimated at 16 MY, whereas the most likely divergence time of these two species is more than 60 MY. These data strongly suggest thatgypsy sequences have been horizontally transferred between these species.