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Small fruit fly - Drosophila melanogaster
Small fruit fly - Drosophila melanogaster


Small fruit fly
The small fruit fly [Drosophila (Sophophora) melanogaster], also known as the vinegar fly, is a species in the order two-winged flies (Diptera), the suborder brachyceran flies (Brachycera), the infraorder Muscomorpha (section: Schizophora; subsection: Acalyptrata), the superfamily Drosophiloidea, and the family Drosophilidae. This species belongs to the subgenus Drosophila (Sophophora), in the subfamily Drosophilinae, the tribe Drosophilini, the subtribe Drosophilina and the genus Drosophila. Since this species (in genetic research) is an experimental subject of the first rank, the species within the subgenus Drosophila (Sophophora) is allocated in the melanogaster group (species group) and the melanogaster subgroup (species subgroup)] as furthermore in the melanogaster complex (species complex). A scientific synonym for this species is Drosophila melangaster.
The small fruit fly, originated in the tropical and subtropical zones. It spread with humans to almost all areas of the earth and is now found everywhere. It can be encountered throughout the year in enclosed spaces, as it overwinters in houses. As their reproduction rate is high, this species is considered non endangered.

Adult small fruit flies reach body lengths of 2 - 3 mm, the females being slightly larger than the males. The colour of their bodies varies from yellow to reddish brown. The compound eyes of the females are brown, while the males’ are red in colour (pterine deposits). The abdomen of the male is dark and more rounded than the female’s which tapers into a point. The abdomen is recognizable by the pattern of grooves on its surface. The wings are transparent with no markings.
The small fruit fly is found whereever organic material is fermentating, such as overripe fruit, milk, beer, wine, yeast dough or decaying fungi, and these, with the micro-organisms contained in them, are used as food for the larvae.
After mating, which (in each new generation) occurs approximately every 9 - 14 days, the fertilized females lay about 400 yellow-white eggs, 0. 5 mm in length, in fermenting organic material.

At what pointthe larvaehatch from their eggs, depends on the ambient temperature. The newly hatched larvae are segmented, have no feet, and are similar in shape to worms. They immediately start searching for micro-organisms (yeasts, bacteria), which they eat with the help of their mouth parts, which are housed in a telescopic proboscis made from chitin. They breathe through two visible, protuberant tubes. Approximately 24 hours after hatching the larvae moult and thus reach the 2nd larval stage. After another 3 days, and 2 further larval stages, the development of the maggots ( now brownish in colour and about 3 mm in length ) is complete. They develop within their third skin into a barrel-shaped pupa and remain there for 4 days. After that, the adult flies of the new generation hatch.

The short period of development and large number of offspring leads to a high density in the small fruit fly population, and this causes substantial losses to growing fruit as well as fruit in storage. On the other hand, the small fruit fly is of major importance in genetic research.


Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Small fruit fly - Drosophila melanogaster
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