Programmed cell death (PCD) in the Drosophila ovary occurs either during mid-oogenesis, resulting in degeneration of the entire egg chamber or during late oogenesis, to facilitate the development of the oocyte. PCD during oogenesis is regulated by mechanisms different from those that control cell death in other Drosophila tissues. We have analyzed the role of caspases in PCD of the female germline by examining caspase mutants and overexpressing caspase inhibitors. Imprecise P-element excision was used to generate mutants of the initiator caspase strica. While null mutants of strica or another initiator caspase, dronc, display no ovary phenotype, we find that strica exhibits redundancy with dronc, during both mid- and late oogenesis. Ovaries of double mutants contain defective mid-stage egg chambers similar to those reported previously in dcp-1 mutants, and mature egg chambers with persisting nurse cell nuclei. In addition, the effector caspases drice and dcp-1 also display redundant functions during late oogenesis, resulting in persisting nurse cell nuclei. These findings indicate that caspases are required for nurse cell death during mid-oogenesis, and participate in developmental nurse cell death during late oogenesis. This reveals a novel pathway of cell death in the ovary that utilizes strica, dronc, dcp-1 and drice, and importantly illustrates strong redundancy among the caspases.