The ribosomal DNAs from Ch. thummi piger and Ch. th. thummi were cloned and analysed by a variety of restriction endonucleases. Comparison of rDNA clones from the two subspecies revealed a considerable length difference: the length of the analysed rDNA cistrons is approximately 9.0 kb for Ch. th. piger and approximately 14.5 kb for Ch. th. thummi. The nearly 5 kb additional DNA in Ch. th. thummi is clearly located within the non-transcribed spacer region, and consists of AT-rich, repetitive DNA elements. These elements with a basic repeat length of approximately 120 bp, are arranged tandemly in stretches of up to about 50 identical copies, which are characterized by a cleavage site for ClaI restriction endonuclease. They are found only in the Ch. th. thummi rDNA clones and not in the Ch. th. piger clones. Southern hybridizations between cloned ribosomal DNA and "centromeric" highly repetitive DNA have shown that the ribosomal repetitive Cla-elements are closely related to a highly repetitive DNA sequence family, which is present in various chromosomal sites particularly the centromeres. Sequence analysis has revealed more than 90% homology between the ribosomal Cla-elements and the "centromeric" Cla-elements.--Since it is clear from cytological investigations that Ch. th. piger with the small rDNA repeating unit is the phylogenetically older subspecies, we postulate a transposition of Cla-elements into the nucleolar DNA during the evolution of Ch. th. thummi.