Autophagy is a process to degrade and recycle cytoplasmic contents. Autophagy is required for survival in response to starvation, but has also been associated with cell death. How autophagy functions during cell survival in some contexts and cell death in others is unknown. Drosophila larval salivary glands undergo programmed cell death requiring autophagy genes, and are cleared in the absence of known phagocytosis. Recently, we demonstrated that Draper (Drpr), the Drosophila homolog of C. elegans engulfment receptor CED-1, is required for autophagy induction: during cell death, but not during cell survival. drpr mutants fail to clear salivary glands. drpr knockdown in salivary glands prevents the induction of autophagy, and Atg1 misexpression in drpr null mutants suppresses salivary gland persistence. Surprisingly, drpr knockdown cell-autonomously prevents autophagy induction in dying salivary gland cells, but not in larval fat body cells following starvation. This is the first engulfment factor shown to function in cellular self-clearance, and the first report of a cell-death-specific autophagy regulator.