fruit flies

9 Stories

A Tiny Fly Is Wreaking Havoc on Florida's Fruit

85 square miles quarantined over Oriental fruit fly

(Newser) - A $1.6 billion agriculture industry in Florida's Miami-Dade County is essentially at a standstill thanks to a swarm of hungry insects. About 159 Oriental fruit flies have been caught in the area in the last few weeks and agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam tells the Miami Herald it's... More »

Fruit Flies May Experience Fear: Study

Whether they experience it the way we do remains unclear

(Newser) - Does the tiny-brained fruit fly experience emotions like fear? New research published in the journal Current Biology suggests that the insects at the very least enter a fear-like state, demonstrating all of the so-called emotion primitives associated with fear—including persistence (the response continues after the threat has passed, such... More »

'Space Sex' Geckos Come Back Frozen to Death

Reproductive systems didn't necessarily fail—shuttle's heating system did

(Newser) - Oops. A Russian space mission meant to test the effect of weightlessness on the gecko's reproductive system didn't quite go as planned. It's not (necessarily) that the geckos weren't mating, it's that all five of them came back dead. And they weren't killed by... More »

Fruit Flies Pause to Think About Decisions

Tiny flies share decision-making gene with humans

(Newser) - The fruit fly's tiny speck of a brain has astonished researchers once again. The flies, given the choice of flying into different chambers with varying levels of a scent they associated with danger, lingered longer over the decision as the differences became smaller, showing signs of the same decision-making... More »

Fruit Flies Move Like Fighter Jets

Speed of evasive turns amazes researchers

(Newser) - Swatting a fruit fly is as tricky as trying to catch a tiny fighter jet with an expert pilot at the controls, researchers say. High-speed cameras captured the insects avoiding threats by executing supercharged, banked turns much like fighter planes, reports the Los Angeles Times . The flies beat their wings... More »

Mutant Bugs' Task: Destroy Own Species

Fruit flies implanted with gene to halt population

(Newser) - How do you get rid of a population of bugs destroying your crops? Scientists are trying out a controversial method: spreading a gene that prevents females from reproducing. Males can live with the lab-inserted gene, but females die in the larval stage—which doesn't leave a lot of options... More »

No Sex? Male Fruit Flies Turn to Booze

They get their 'reward' from alcohol instead: Study

(Newser) - Entomology as country song: Researchers say male fruit flies denied sex drown their sorrows in alcohol, reports the BBC . Or more precisely, boy flies who get some action turn up their noses at food dosed with alcohol, while boys who get rejected are far more likely to indulge. Researchers think... More »

What the Fruit Fly Tells Us About Mormon Polygamists

Researchers found evidence of Bateman gradient in 19th-century Utah

(Newser) - Mormon polygamists of the 19th century had something in common with an unlikely creature: the fruit fly. In the 1940s, geneticist Angus Bateman discovered that the more sexual partners a fruit fly had, the less offspring those partners produced. Scientists examining the polygamous members of the Mormon Church—Brigham Young,... More »

Flies Gay, Straight, Gay Again

Researchers find genes, drugs can flip insects' sexuality

(Newser) - Fruit flies were gay one hour and straight the next in a recent study in which researchers used drugs to flip the switch of sexuality, reports LiveScience. When scientists disabled a gene called genderblind, male flies courted other males; they reverted to pursuing females only hours later when given a... More »

9 Stories