Drosophila melanogaster Meigen A small fruit fly

This generally abundant fly (best known for its universal use in cytological, genetical and other laboratory studies) is sometimes a minor problem in soft-fruit plantations, orchards and vineyards. Most frequently, the flies are merely of nuisance value, as they are often attracted in vast numbers to overripe, fermenting fruit and fruit juices, both indoors and outside. In vineyards, the larvae sometimes feed on damaged grapes and may also invade adjacent sound fruit, remov-

Fig. 257 A small fruit fly, Drosophila sp. (x15).

ing the flesh to leave only the skins; larvae may also act as disease vectors. Adults are c. 3 mm long and mainly yellowish or yellowish-brown, with bright red eyes; the abdomen is marked dorsally with dark brown cross-bands (Fig. 257). Larvae are up to 4.5 mm long and whitish, with laterally protruding anterior spiracles, tube-like posterior spiracles and distinct black mouth-hooks. Breeding takes place in various kinds of rotting vegetable matter. There are several generations annually and development from egg to adult takes about 3 weeks.

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