A 974-bp region immediately 5' of the esterase 6 gene was sequenced in 17 field derived third chromosome isoallelic lines. Twenty-three polymorphisms were identified, only two in the first 400 bp 5' but 16 in a 325-bp region from -494 to -819 bp. This distribution differs from previously published patterns in Drosophila simulans and D. mauritiana, where the first 800 bp are highly conserved. Fourteen common polymorphisms in the 325-bp region above are all in strong linkage disequilibrium with each other. Moreover, most of the haplotypes defined by the total of 23 polymorphisms fall into two groups that differ as a block at all 14 of these latter sites. Sequence differences between the two groups include some restriction sites that were scored in an earlier study of RFLPs and EST6 enzyme phenotypes among 42 isoallelic lines from the same population. By collating the two studies, we show that one haplotype group yields ~15% lower EST6 enzyme activity in adult males than the other. The promoter haplotypes show only weak disequilibrium with the esterase 6 fast/slow allozyme polymorphism, so it seems unlikely that previously reported latitudinal clines in the allozyme frequencies are due to their hitchhiking along with selection on the promoter difference.