Caspase family proteases play important roles in the regulation of apoptotic cell death. Initiator caspases are activated in response to death stimuli, and they transduce and amplify these signals by cleaving and thereby activating effector caspases. In Drosophila, the initiator caspase Nc (previously Dronc) cleaves and activates two short-prodomain caspases, Dcp-1 and Ice (previously Drice), suggesting these as candidate effectors of Nc killing activity. dcp-1-null mutants are healthy and possess few defects in normally occurring cell death. To explore roles for Ice in cell death, we generated and characterized an Ice null mutant. Animals lacking Ice show a number of defects in cell death, including those that occur during embryonic development, as well as during formation of adult eyes, arista and wings. Ice mutants exhibit subtle defects in the destruction of larval tissues, and do not prevent destruction of salivary glands during metamorphosis. Cells from Ice animals are also markedly resistant to several stresses, including X-irradiation and inhibition of protein synthesis. Mutations in Ice also suppress cell death that is induced by expression of Rpr, Wrinkled (previously Hid) and Grim. These observations demonstrate that Ice plays an important non-redundant role as a cell death effector. Finally, we demonstrate that Ice participates in, but is not absolutely required for, the non-apoptotic process of spermatid differentiation.