The common fruit fly is not only a pest insect but also used extensively in laboratory research. So, don’t discard them just yet. Fruit flies can be found on every continent, sans Antarctica. There are approximately 1,500 known species of fruit flies. Each 1 a little different than the other. Sans the beautiful-winged fruit fly (listed as Vulnerable), these insects are not evaluated by the IUCN. They are more than abundant, the world over. And they’re coming to a fruit bowl near you!
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Drosophila melanogaster
Length: Up to .11 inch
Lifespan: Up to 50 days
Now on to the Facts!
1.) They are used extensively in lab research due to their short lifespan. Research on them in the last 30 years might have taken upwards of 200 years, if performed on rodents.
2.) Being genetically alike, humans and fruit flies share approximately 60% of the genes that cause diseases. So, they can get some of the same diseases that we can.
3.) Fruit flies can get Type 2 diabetes, for instance, just like we can.
4.) In order to keep fruit flies from buzzing off, carbon dioxide is typically utilized to make them sleepy. FlyNap, an insect anesthesia, is also used as it yields up to a 30 minute “nap” in insects.
5.) There are also genetically altered fruit flies that have wings but are flightless. These are typically used as fodder for smaller captive reptiles and amphibians.
But wait, there’s more on the common fruit fly!
6.) If the temperature is optimal, a female has the ability to lay up to 50 eggs per day, throughout her life!
7.) Their brains have upwards of 100,000 neurons and they are capable of complex behaviors, like aggression, circadian rhythms, courtship, feeding, sleep, learning, memory, grooming, and flight mapping.
Did you know…?
Utilizing these flies, Thomas Hunt Morgan was able to confirm the chromosomal theory of inheritance (proving that genes are located on chromosomes and in some instances genes are inherited, or joined, together).
8.) A study revealed that the male fruit fly will turn to alcohol when rejected by a female fly.
9.) They also have a fine pallet when it comes to beer. The more fruity the yeast, the tastier it is to both the fruit fly as it is with humans.
10.) The fruit fly is polygamous (males and females have multiple partners).
But wait, there’s still more on the common fruit fly!
11.) Their complete genome was sequenced and first published in 2000.
12.) Just like other insects, males become aggressive towards other males in the presence of a mating receptive female. The males will fight by raising their legs and wings and attacking with their whole body. This causes potential wing damage and the inability to fly; thus reducing their rival’s chance of being able to reach and woo a receptive female.
13.) Males indicate their intent to brawl via sounds; ie, pulses occurring at longer intervals.
Did you know…?
Fruit flies keep themselves clean by grooming. They clean their eyes with their front legs and then tend to their thorax, abdomen, and wings with their hind legs.
14.) After mating with a female, the male will release an anti-aphrodisiac pheromone that deters other males from mating with the same female.
15.) The compound eye of the fruit fly contains 760 unit eyes, aka ommatidia, and are 1 of the most advanced among any of the known insects.
But wait, there’s still a little more on the common fruit fly!
16.) In flight, they are able to rotate 90° in less than 50 milliseconds.
17.) Contrary to popular belief, these flies don’t cause fruit to rot, but rather are attracted to already rotting fruit.
18.) Another name for these creatures is vinegar fly.
Now a Short Common Fruit Fly Video!
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