The Tc1-like transposable elements, originally described in Caenorhabditis elegans, have a much wider phylogenetic distribution than previously thought. In this paper, we demonstrate that Tc1 shares sequence identity in its open reading frame and terminal repeats with a new transposable element Barney (also known as TCb1-Transposon Caenorhabditis briggsae 1). Barney was detected and isolated by Tc1 hybridization from the closely related nematode species, Caenorhabditis briggsae. The conserved open reading frames of Tc1 and Barney share identity with a structurally similar family of elements named HB found in Drosophila melanogaster, after the introduction of 3 small centrally located deletions in HB1. These reading frames would code for proteins with 30% amino acid identity (42% when conservative changes are included). Tc1, Barney and HB1 contain highly conserved blocks of amino acids which are likely to be in the functional domains of the putative transposase.