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Biological systems display extraordinary robustness. Robustness of transcriptional enhancers results mainly from clusters of binding sites for the same transcription factor, and it is not clear how robust enhancers can evolve loss of expression through point mutations. Here, we report the high-resolution functional dissection of a robust enhancer of the shavenbaby gene that has contributed to morphological evolution. We found that robustness is encoded by many binding sites for the transcriptional activator Arrowhead and that, during evolution, some of these activator sites were lost, weakening enhancer activity. Complete silencing of enhancer function, however, required evolution of a binding site for the spatially restricted potent repressor Abrupt. These findings illustrate that recruitment of repressor binding sites can overcome enhancer robustness and may minimize pleiotropic consequences of enhancer evolution. Recruitment of repression may be a general mode of evolution to break robust regulatory linkages.