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280 days of Urbpandemonium #130

 photo IMGP2299_zpst4laazot.jpg
What you see here, infesting our kitchen compost container, is one of the most important animals in human history. The humble red-eyed fruit fly is a tiny pest found worldwide. Its maggots feed on the yeasts that feed on fruit sugars--so anywhere a banana is ripening, or a glass of wine has sat out too long, or some juice was left in a discarded, you will find these vinegar flies circling. Because they are easy to rear in captivity, and reproduce incredibly quickly, they are among the most frequently used lab animals. It is impossible to overstate the contribution this species has made to science.

They have been used in so many papers and studies, that even though their classification has changed--they are no longer taxonomically Drosophila melanogaster*, they are Sophophora**--that their old scientific name is still used. Nobody wants to go through the hundreds of thousands of uses of Drosophila and find and replace them with Sophophora.

* "Dew-loving, black belly"

** "Carrier of wisdom"

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
autumnfox
Aug. 4th, 2015 02:40 pm (UTC)
You just turned my world upside down. Drosophila is no longer Drosophila???

I hated working with them as a biology student.
urbpan
Aug. 4th, 2015 02:43 pm (UTC)
Nope! drhoz had to inform me a few years ago!
autumnfox
Aug. 4th, 2015 02:47 pm (UTC)
I didn't know that it's the yeasts that these beasties eat, I always thought it was fruit juice. Now I understand why they adore kombucha so much.
heavenscalyx
Aug. 5th, 2015 02:25 pm (UTC)
OMG, the smell of the teal-colored media used for the Drosophila (gonna keep using it, dammit, cause no one will understand otherwise!) brings back all sorts of flashbacks to my evening Genetics lab classes, even though they're nearly 30 years in the past.
badnoodles
Aug. 4th, 2015 07:57 pm (UTC)
Embarassing entomologist confessions: every time I've tried to keep a colony of fruit flies, I kill them. I don't know why, but it's a thing that happens.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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