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fruit fly

fruit fly, common name for any of the flies of the families Tephritidae and Drosophilidae. All fruit flies are very small insects that lay their eggs in various plant tissues. The Tephritidae contains about 1,200 species characterized by wide heads, black or steely green or blue bodies, iridescent greenish eyes, and wings that are usually mottled brown or black. The eggs of most species are laid directly in the pulp of the fruit on which the larvae feed; in North America, blueberries, cherries, and apples are much damaged by these insects. In warm regions, the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, was a serious pest of citrus fruits; it has now been eradicated from the S United States. Some species, e.g., the goldenrod gall fly, Eurosta solidaginis, which deposits its eggs in species of goldenrod, lay their eggs in plants of no economic importance. The Drosophilidae, or pomace flies, are yellowish and in the wild are largely found around decaying vegetation. The larvae living in fruit actually feed on the yeasts growing in the fruit. Drosophila melanogaster, also called vinegar fly, is a much used laboratory insect; its 10-day life cycle and large chromosomes, particularly those of the salivary glands of the larva, have made it invaluable in the study of genetics. Fruit flies are classified in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Diptera, families Tephritidae and Drosophilidae.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genus of insects of the family Drosophilidae. The genus consists of small insects (about 3.5 mm long) with a bulging body and, as a rule, red eyes. Drosophila is distributed all over the world, with 25 species in the USSR. It is found everywhere, especially in vegetable and fruit storehouses. The larvae develop mainly in fermenting, frequently semiliquid, plant residues. Because of the ease with which they can be raised in the laboratory, the rapidity of their development, and the distinctness of segregation of species in the offspring, several species, chiefly the common banana fly (D. melanogaster), became a major object of genetics research after the work of the American scientist T. Morgan. Mutagenesis was studied quantitatively in Drosophila, and the first experimental mutations were induced in it. In nature, Drosophila is important as a carrier of yeast fungi.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
A warning to housewives to rinse their empty milk bottles was given by Stourbridge Sanitary Inspector Mr Kent yesterday after the discovery of a vinegar fly in a bottle taken to the Public Health Department.
Most of the genes found in the fruit fly, also referred to as the vinegar fly, are found in humans as well, including those neurons that produce brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin.
The team used various species of the vinegar fly as a model, examining different species that lived in tropical and more widely distributed environments.