The patterns of filamentous actin were analysed in different larval, pupal and adult stages in the salivary glands of the fleshfly Sarcophaga bullata. Using the rhodamine labelled phalloidin staining method in combination with detergent extraction specific actin filament distribution was detected. The salivary glands which are histolysed during the process of metamorphosis show distinct cellular morphology and actin filament patterns in larvae and adults. The large third instar larval salivary gland cells contain a well developed apicolateral microvillar zone. In third instar larvae this microvillar zone invaginates and expands in the basal part of the lateral membranes. Larval salivary gland cells also contain numerous parallel basal actin bundles. The larval glands are histolysed during metamorphosis and adult glands are formed out of the imaginal cell group. At the onset of metamorphosis these basal actin bundles form a network of crossing bundles. The filamentous actin patterns of the proximal part of adult gland cells is confined to the apicolateral microvillar membranes. The cells in the distal, tubular part of the adult salivary glands show intense staining of their folded lateral membranes.