Transposable elements (TEs) are mobile genetic elements that can move around the genome, and their expression is one precondition for this mobility. Because the insertion of TEs in new genomic positions is largely deleterious, the molecular mechanisms for transcriptional suppression have been extensively studied. In contrast, very little is known about their primary transcriptional regulation. Here, we characterize the expression dynamics of TE families in Drosophila melanogaster across a broad temperature range (13-29°C). In 71% of the expressed TE families, the expression is modulated by temperature. We show that this temperature-dependent regulation is specific for TE families and strongly affected by the genetic background. We deduce that TEs carry family-specific regulatory sequences, which are targeted by host-specific trans-acting factors, such as transcription factors. Consistent with the widespread dominant inheritance of gene expression, we also find the prevailing dominance of TE family expression. We conclude that TE family expression across a range of temperatures is regulated by an interaction between TE family-specific regulatory elements and trans-acting factors of the host.