The subcellular distribution of the Drosophila nervous system-specific RNA binding domain-containing protein ELAV was investigated using ELAV-specific antibodies and scanning confocal laser microscopy. ELAV is predominantly localized within the nucleus where it concentrates within discrete domains we describe as dots and webs. To characterize these discrete domains an analysis of Drosophila coiled bodies was initiated. The polyclonal antibody R288 raised against human coilin was used to identify coiled bodies in cells of the Drosophila larval central nervous system. Double-labeling immunohistochemistry showed that, similar to vertebrate and plant systems, small nuclear ribonucleoproteins are enriched within these structures. Further analysis of ELAV revealed that subnuclear domains enriched with this molecule localize within and close to coiled bodies and close to subnuclear domains enriched with splicing factors. A preliminary analysis aimed at defining a region within ELAV that may mediate a molecular or functional interaction important for its subnuclear localization revealed that deletion of the ELAV alanine/glutamine-rich amino-terminal auxiliary domain has no discernible effect on localization and that proteins produced from elav lethal alleles distribute normally.