We report the isolation and cross species amplification of 42 Drosophila virilis microsatellite loci. Nine loci were isolated from mapped P1 bacteriophage clones and 33 were obtained from genomic DNA or GenBank searches. Cross species amplification was tested for all members of the D. virilis group. The amplification success was high (varying from 45% to 100%) and most of the loci were polymorphic. This set of loci can be applied for several genetic studies such as mapping behavioural quantitative trait loci (QTL) and for studying population structure in a phylogeographical framework in D. virilis group species.