Small fruit flies

The Drosophilidae are a diverse, cosmopolitan family of flies, which includes fruit flies. Another unrelated family of flies, Tephritidae, also includes species known as "small fruit flies". The best known species of the Drosophilidae is Drosophila melanogaster, within the genus Drosophila, and this species is used extensively for studies concerning genetics, development, physiology, ecology and behaviour. This fruit fly is mostly composed of post-mitotic cells, has a very short lifespan, and shows gradual aging. As in other species, temperature influences the life history of the animal. Several genes have been identified that can be manipulated to extend the lifespan of these insects.

Generally, drosophilids are considered to be nuisance flies rather than pests, since most species breed in rotting material. Zaprionus indianus Gupta is unusual among Drosophilidae species in being a serious, primary pest of at least one commercial fruit, figs in Brazil.[1] Another species, Drosophila suzukii, infests thin-skinned fruit such as raspberries and cherries and can be a serious agricultural pest.[2] Drosophila repleta larvae inhabit drains and spread bacteria. Fruit flies in general are considered as a common vector in propagating acetic acid bacteria[3] in nature. This often ruins the alcohol fermentation process and can ruin beer or wine by turning it into vinegar.

The diagnostic characteristics for Drosophilidae include the presence of an incomplete subcostal vein, two breaks in the costal vein, a small anal cell in the wing, convergent postocellar bristles; and usually three frontal bristles on each side of the head, one directed forward and the other two directed rearward. More extensive identification characteristics can be found in "Drosophila: A Guide to Species Identification and Use" by Therese A. Markow and Patrick O'Grady, (Academic Press, 2005) ISBN 0-12-473052-3 or "Drosophila: A Laboratory Handbook" by M. Ashburner, K. Golic, S. Hawley, (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2005).

Of their many defenses against parasites, when Drosophila melanogaster flies see female larval endoparasitoid wasps, they switch to laying their eggs in alcohol-laden food sources such as rotting fruit. Doing so protects the flies from becoming host to the larvae, as the wasps have a low alcohol tolerance. This oviposition behavior change only occurs upon seeing the female wasp larva and does not take place in the presence of the male wasp larva.[4]

The family contains more than 4,000 species classified under 75 genera. Recently, a comprehensive phylogenetic classification of the genera based on both molecular and morphological characters has been published.[5]

  • Subfamily Drosophilinae Rondani, 1856:
    • Tribe Okada, 1989:
      • Genus Wheeler & Takada, 1964
      • Genus Bock, 1982
      • Genus Chymomyza Czerny, 1903
      • Genus de Meijere, 1914
      • Genus Malloch, 1929
      • Genus Duda, 1925
      • Genus Duda, 1924
      • Genus Scaptodrosophila Duda, 1923
      • Genus Protochymomyza Grimaldi, 1987
    • Tribe Okada, 1989:
      • Genus Yafuso & Toda, 2008
      • Genus Bock, 1989
      • Genus Wheeler & Takada, 1964
      • Genus Hardy, 1965
      • Genus Bock, 1982
      • Genus Lamb, 1914
      • Genus Duda, 1940
      • Genus Malloch, 1932
      • Genus Drosophila Fallén, 1823
      • Genus Hirtodrosophila Duda, 1923
      • Genus Okada, 1956
      • Genus Idiomyia Grimshaw, 1901 (Hawaiian Drosophila)
      • Genus Séguy, 1938
      • Genus Duda, 1927
      • Genus Duda, 1922
      • Genus Lordiphosa Basden, 1961
      • Genus Microdrosophila Malloch, 1921
      • Genus Grimaldi, 1987
      • Genus Bock, 1982
      • Genus Mycodrosophila Oldenberg, 1914
      • Genus Grimaldi, 2003
      • Genus Duda, 1925
      • Genus Duda, 1924
      • Genus Bock, 1989
      • Genus Malloch, 1934
      • Genus Scaptomyza Hardy, 1849
      • Genus Duda, 1922
      • Genus Duda, 1924
      • Genus Wheeler, 1957
      • Genus Zaprionus Coquillett, 1902
      • Genus Tsacas, 1990
      • Genus Wheeler, 1956
      • Genus Wiedemann, 1830
    • Incertae sedis:
  • Subfamily Steganinae Hendel, 1917:
    • Tribe Grimaldi, 1990:
      • Genus Tsacas, 2000
      • Genus Frauenfeld, 1868
      • Genus Loew, 1862
      • Genus Tsacas, 1983
      • Genus Okada, 1971
      • Genus Loew, 1858
      • Genus Bock, 1982
      • Genus Hennig, 1965
      • Genus Kertész, 1899
      • Genus Meigen, 1830
      • Genus Wheeler, 1960
      • Genus Malloch, 1926
      • Genus Wheeler, 1960
      • Genus Hardy & Wheeler, 1960
      • Genus Hendel, 1914
      • Genus Duda, 1934
      • Genus Schiner, 1862
      • Genus Pseudiastata Coquillett, 1901
      • Genus Duda, 1925
      • Genus Rhinoleucophenga Hendel, 1917
      • Genus Hendel, 1938
      • Genus Hendel, 1917
    • Tribe Okada, 1989:
      • Genus Hendel, 1913
      • Genus Leucophenga Mik, 1866
      • Genus Duda, 1924
      • Genus Okada, 1971
      • Genus Okada, 1978
      • Genus Stegana Meigen, 1830
    • Incertae sedis:
      • Genus Duda, 1924
      • Genus Kertész, 1901
  1. ^ "Pest Alerts - Zaprionus indianus Gupta, DPI". Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Archived from the original on 2013-10-12. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  2. ^ Drosophila suzukii Center of Invasive Species Research
  3. ^ Vinegars of the World. Chapter 5. ISBN 978-88-470-0865-6
  4. ^ Kacsoh BZ; Lynch ZR; Mortimer NT; Schlenke TA (Feb 2013). "fruit flies medicate offspring after seeing parasites". Science. 339 (6122): 947–950. doi:10.1126/science.1229625. PMC 3760715. PMID 23430653.
  5. ^ Yassin, Amir (2013). "Phylogenetic classification of the Drosophilidae Rondani (Diptera): The role of morphology in the postgenomic era". Systematic Entomology. 38 (2): 349–364. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3113.2012.00665.x.