Adult survival rates were estimated in field populations of domestic Drosophila species by means of multiple capture-recapture experiments. Micronized fluorescent dusts were used as marking agents and analysis used the Fisher-Ford model: the assumptions of this model are justified using evidence from this study and the literature. Survival rates were commonly 0.45-0.85 per day, suggesting that mean life expectancy for adult flies is from 1.3 to 6.2 days in natural populations. No consistent differences in survival between sexes or seasons were demonstrated. The implications of low natural survival rates are discussed.