We describe the molecular characterization of the Drosophila melanogaster gene stubarista (sta) that encodes the highly conserved putative ribosome-associated protein D-p40. sta maps to cytological position 2A3-B2 on the X chromosome and encodes a protein (D-p40) of 270 amino acids. D-p40 shares 63% identity with the human p40 ribosomal protein. P element-mediated transformation of a 4.4-kb genomic fragment encompassing the 1-kb transcript corresponding to D-p40 was used to rescue both a lethal (sta2) and a viable (sta1) mutation at the stubarista (sta) locus. Developmental analysis of the sta2 mutation implicates a requirement for D-p40 during oogenesis and imaginal development, which is consistent with the expression of sta throughout development. In addition, we have analyzed the basis of the sta1 visible phenotype which consists of shortened antennae and bristles. sta1 is a translocation of the 1E1-2 to 2B3-4 region of the X chromosome onto the third chromosome at 89B21-C4. We provide genetic evidence that Dp(1;3)sta1 is mutant at the spineless (ss) locus and that it is associated with partial D-p40 activity. We demonstrate that sta1 acts as a recessive enhancer of ss; reduction in the amount of D-p40 provided by the transposed X chromosomal region of sta1 reveals a haplo-insufficient phenotype of the otherwise recessive ss mutations. This phenomenon is reminiscent of the enhancing effect observed with Minute mutations, one of which, rp49, has previously been shown to encode a ribosomal protein.