In response to microbial infections, Drosophila mounts a multifaceted immune response involving humoral reactions that culminate in the destruction of invading organisms by lytic peptides. These defense mechanisms are activated via two distinct signaling pathways. One of these, the Toll pathway, controls resistance to fungal and Gram-positive bacterial infections, whereas the Imd pathway is responsible for defense against Gram-negative bacterial infections. Current evidence indicates that recognition of infectious nonself agents results from interactions between microbial wall components and extracellular pattern recognition proteins. We discuss here evolutionary perspectives on our present understanding of the antimicrobial defenses of Drosophila.