In seven of the eight species of the Drosophila melanogaster group, the predominant cuticular hydrocarbon of males is 7-tricosene, but in the island endemic species D. sechellia it is 6-tricosene. The phylogeny of the group implies that the novel hydrocarbon profile of D. sechellia is a derived character. Genetic analysis of hybrids between D. sechellia and its close relative D. simulans show that each of the five major chromosome arms carries at least one gene affecting the ratio of the two tricosene isomers, with the right arm of the third chromosome having the largest effect. The species difference in this character is therefore polygenic with the effects of the different chromosome arms generally additive, although there is some epistasis among third-chromosome genes. Observations of courtship by males who have been coated with foreign hydrocarbons suggest that a male's hydrocarbon profile may slightly affect the degree of sexual isolation in one of the reciprocal hybridizations between these species, but that this role is small compared to that played by hydrocarbon differences between females.