Let’s start off with the basics of fruit flies.
There are 3 main types:
Traditional Fruit flies:
These winged bugs can fly all over the place and are annoying when a tomato or piece of fruit gets left on the counter past ripe.
Melanogaster Fruit flies:
Drosophila melanogaster or melanos or mels are the most common type of feeder fruit fly. These flies measure out 1/16th of an inch long which makes them perfect for poison dart frogs.
There are 2 types of melanogaster flies: flightless and wingless. Flightless has been genetically modified so that they cannot fly, as wingless lacks wings therefore they cannot fly. Both cannot fly, however flightless flies may regain the ability to fly if the culture gets too warm or if a wild fruit fly contaminates the culture.
I will go more in depth on culturing later in this series, but in general, melanogaster flies will typically morph out on day 14.
Other than being used for feeding, this fly species is widely used for genetics, physiology, microbial pathogenesis and life history evolution. Around 75% of known human disease genes can be recognized in the fruit fly. These fruit flies are used due to being easy to care for, breeds quickly and lays many eggs.
Hydei Fruit flies:
Drosophila hydei or hydei is another common type of feeder fruit fly. These flies are larger than the melanogaster fruit flies at 1/8″ of an inch long which provides larger frogs with a more filling option.
Hydei also have a flightless and a wingless version.
These flies take much longer to hatch at 21 days+ until the first hydei emerge. These cultures are said to have a boom and bust cycle, where the culture will appear empty and then all of a sudden it will be filled with new flies. These cultures are more prone to drying out, crashes and mites than melanogaster flies.
It is known for having approximately 23mm long sperm, 10 times the length of the male’s body.
Stay tuned for the next part on fruit fly culturing cups!
Cover image from Wikipedia commons – modified to include text