World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000009032
Reproduction Date:

Title: Drosophila  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Extramacrochaetae, Segmentation (biology), Seymour Benzer, Neurogenetics, XY sex-determination system
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


{| class="infobox biota" style="text-align: left; width: 200px; font-size: 100%"

|- ! colspan=2 style="text-align: center" | Drosophila |- | colspan=2 style="text-align: center" | |- | colspan=2 style="text-align: center; font-size: 88%" | Drosophila repleta |-

|- colspan=2 style="text-align: center"

|- |- ! colspan=2 style="text-align: center" | Scientific classification |-



|- style="text-align: center"




|- ! colspan=2 style="text-align: center" | Type species |- | colspan=2 style="text-align: center" | Musca funebris
Fabricius, 1787 |-



|- ! colspan=2 style="text-align: center" | Subgenera |- | colspan=2 style="text-align: left" |



|- ! colspan=2 style="text-align: center" | Synonyms |- | colspan=2 style="text-align: left" | Oinopota Kirby & Spence, 1815 |-


Drosophila is a developmental biology. The terms "fruit fly" and "Drosophila" are often used synonymously with D. melanogaster in modern biological literature. The entire genus, however, contains more than 1,500 species[1] and is very diverse in appearance, behavior, and breeding habitat.


The term "Drosophila", meaning "dew-loving", is a modern scientific Latin adaptation from Greek words δρόσος, drósos, "dew", and φίλος, phílos, "loving" with the Latin feminine suffix -a.


Side view of head showing characteristic bristles above the eye

Drosophila are small flies, typically pale yellow to reddish brown to black, with red eyes. Many species, including the noted Hawaiian picture-wings, have distinct black patterns on the wings. The plumose (feathery) arista, bristling of the head and thorax, and wing venation are characters used to diagnose the family. Most are small, about 2–4 millimetres long, but some, especially many of the Hawaiian species, are larger than a house fly.

Life cycle and ecology


Drosophila are found all around the world, with more species in the tropical regions. They can be found in deserts, tropical rainforest, cities, swamps, and alpine zones. Some northern species hibernate. Most species breed in various kinds of decaying plant and fungal material, including fruit, bark, slime fluxes, flowers, and mushrooms. The larvae of at least one species, D. suzukii, can also feed in fresh fruit and can sometimes be a pest.[2] A few species have switched to being parasites or predators. Many species can be attracted to baits of fermented bananas or mushrooms, but others are not attracted to any kind of baits. Males may congregate at patches of suitable breeding substrate to compete for the females, or form leks, conducting courtship in an area separate from breeding sites.

Several Drosophila species, including D. melanogaster, D. immigrans, and D. simulans, are closely associated with humans, and are often referred to as domestic species. These and other species (D. subobscura, Zaprionus indianus[3][4][5]) have been accidentally introduced around the world by human activities such as fruit transports.


Males of this genus are known to have the longest Drosophila bifurca, that has a sperm 58 mm (2.3 in) long.[6] The cells are mostly tail, and are delivered to the females in tangled coils. The other members of the genus Drosophila also make relatively few giant sperm cells, with that of D. bifurca being the longest.[7] D. melanogaster sperm cells are a more modest 1.8 mm long, although this is still about 35 times longer than a human sperm. Several species in the D. melanogaster species group are known to mate by traumatic insemination.[8]

Drosophila vary widely in their reproductive capacity. Those such as D. melanogaster that breed in large, relatively rare resources have temperature, breeding substrate, and crowding. Numerous studies have shown that fruit flies lay eggs using an environmental circle. If fruit flies laid eggs at nighttime during which the environmental conditions were advantageous, the eggs could not be susceptible to desiccation from parasites. As a result, the offspring reproduced from these eggs would have greater fitness compared to offspring that were reproduced from eggs laid during the day. Since eggs are laid with a biological clock, Drosophila melanogaster become adaptive to their environmental cycles, which showed a major advantage.[9]

Life cycle of Drosophila
Adult Drosophila melanogaster

Laboratory-cultured animals

Drosophila melanogaster is a popular experimental animal because it is easily cultured in mass out of the wild, has a short generation time, and mutant animals are readily obtainable. In 1906, Nobel Prize in Medicine for identifying chromosomes as the vector of inheritance for genes. This and other Drosophila species are widely used in studies of genetics, embryogenesis, and other areas.

However, some species of Drosophila are difficult to culture in the laboratory, often because they breed on a single specific host in the wild. For some it can be done with particular recipes for rearing media, or by introducing chemicals such as sterols that are found in the natural host; for others it is (so far) impossible. In some cases, the larvae can develop on normal Drosophila lab medium but the female will not lay eggs; for these it is often simply a matter of putting in a small piece of the natural host to receive the eggs. The Species Stock CenterDrosophila in San Diego maintains cultures of hundreds of species for researchers.


Like other metazoans Drosophila is associated with various bacteria in its gut. The fly gut microbiota or microbiome seems to have a central influence on Drosophila fitness and life history characteristics. The microbiota in the gut of Drosophila represents an active current research field.


Drosophila are prey for many generalist predators such as robber flies. In Hawaii, the introduction of yellowjackets from the mainland United States has led to the decline of many of the large species. The larvae are preyed on by other fly larvae, staphylinid beetles, and ants.


D. setosimentum, a species of Hawaiian picture-wing fly

The genus Drosophila as currently defined is paraphyletic (see below) and contains 1,450 described species,[1][10] while the estimated total number of species is estimated at thousands.[11] The majority of the species are members of two subgenera: Drosophila (~1,100 species) and Sophophora (including D. (S.) melanogaster; ~330 species). The Hawaiian species of Drosophila (estimated to be more than 500, with ~380 species described) are sometimes recognized as a separate genus or subgenus, Idiomyia,[1][12] but this is not widely accepted. About 250 species are part of the genus Scaptomyza, which arose from the Hawaiian Drosophila and later re-colonized continental areas.

Evidence from phylogenetic studies suggests that the following genera arose from within the genus Drosophila:[13][14]

  • Liodrosophila Duda, 1922
  • Mycodrosophila Oldenburg, 1914
  • Samoaia Malloch, 1934
  • Scaptomyza Hardy, 1849
  • Zaprionus Coquillett, 1901
  • Zygothrica Wiedemann, 1830
  • Hirtodrosophila Duda, 1923 (position uncertain)

Several of the subgeneric and generic names are based on anagrams of Drosophila, including Dorsilopha, Lordiphosa, Siphlodora, Phloridosa and Psilodorha.

Further information: List of Drosophila species

Drosophila species genome project

Drosophila are extensively used as a model organism in genetics (including population genetics), cell-biology, biochemistry, and especially developmental biology. Therefore, extensive efforts are made to sequence drosphilid genomes. The genomes of the following species have been fully sequenced:[15]

The data have been used for many purposes, including evolutionary genome comparisons. D. simulans and D. sechellia are sister species, and provide viable offspring when crossed, while D. melanogaster and D. simulans produce infertile hybrid offspring. The Drosophila genome is often compared with the genomes of more distantly related species such as the honeybee Apis mellifera or the mosquito Anopheles gambiae.

The modEncode consortium is currently sequencing 8 more Drosophila genomes,[16] and even more genomes are being sequenced by the i5K consortium.[17]

Curated data are available at FlyBase.


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Howlader, G., Sharma, K. V (2006). Circadian regulation of egg-laying behavior in fruit flies Drosophila melanogaster. The Journal of Insect Physiology, 52, 779-785
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^

External links

  • Fly Base FlyBase is a comprehensive database for information on the genetics and molecular biology of Drosophila. It includes data from the Drosophila Genome Projects and data curated from the literature.
  • Genome ProjectDrosophilaBerkeley
  • Annual Drosophila Research Conference
  • AAA: Assembly, Alignment and Annotation of 12 Drosophila species
  • UCSC Genome browser
  • TaxoDros: The database on Taxonomy of Drosophilidae
  • Stock CenterDrosophilaUC San Diego breeds hundreds of species and supplies them to researchers
  • FlyMine is an integrated database of genomic, expression and protein data for Drosophila
  • Virtual libraryDrosophilaThe is library of Drosophila on web
  • Drosophila Melanogaster contains further information.
  • C-CAMP Fly facility - In India microinjection service for the generation of transgenic lines, Screening Platforms, Drosophila strain development

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.