The genome of the house fly, Musca domestica, contains an active transposable element system, called Hermes. Using PCR and inverse PCR we amplified and sequenced overlapping segments of several Hermes elements and from these data we have constructed a 2749 bp consensus Hermes DNA sequence. Hermes termini are composed of 17 bp imperfect inverted repeats that are almost identical to the inverted terminal repeats of the hobo element of Drosophila melanogaster. Full length Hermes elements contain a single long ORF capable of encoding a protein of 612 amino acids which is 55% identical to the amino acid sequence of the hobo transposase. Comparison of the ends of the Hermes and hobo elements to those of the Ac element of Zea mays, and the Tam3 element of Antirrhinum majus, as well as several other plant and insect elements, revealed a conserved terminal sequence motif. Thus Hermes is clearly a member of the hobo, Ac and Tam3 (hAT) transposable element family, other members of which include the Tag1 element from Arabidopsis thaliana and the Bg element from Zea mays. The evolution of this class of transposable elements and the potential utility of Hermes as a genetic tool in M. domestica and related species are discussed.