We have quantitatively analyzed the effect of the mutation rut, which lesions a Ca2+-stimulated subpopulation (or functional state) of adenylate cyclase, on acquisition, consolidation and retention of an olfactory associative memory in Drosophila. The classical conditioning paradigm developed by Tully and Quinn (1985) was employed. Our data indicate that rut reduces acquisition and short-term memory in this paradigm, yet does not abolish consolidation of residual memory into an anesthesia-resistant form. Assuming that the rut behavioral defect is not due to altered neuroanatomy, the data also suggest that the adenylate cyclase activity lesioned by rut is only one of the molecular processes required for acquisition and short-term memory. These different postulated processes seem to act in parallel but are probably recruited sequentially; the mechanism involving rut+ gene product is necessary for response prior to other mechanisms which do not require rut+. It is also suggested, on the basis of the present results combined with previous data, that processes which do not require Ca2+-activated cyclase can not fulfill the partial role of this enzyme during acquisition but can partially compensate for its absence in later phases of memory formation.