1. Ecology
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The Natural History of Model Organisms: The secret lives of Drosophila flies

  1. Therese Ann Markow  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of California at San Diego, United States
Feature Article
Cite this article as: eLife 2015;4:e06793 doi: 10.7554/eLife.06793
2 figures and 2 videos

Figures

The life cycle of Drosophila melanogaster.

Egg and pupa stages are sessile, larvae move within the substrate, and adults are highly vagile as their ability to fly enables their dispersal. Different species of Drosophila vary in their larval development times, as well as in the ages at which females and males attain reproductive maturity. Image credit: Therese Ann Markow.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.06793.004
Evolutionary and ecological relationships of Drosophila species.

Phylogenetic relationships (based on Markow and O'Grady, 2005b) are shown for species with available assembled whole-genome sequences. Within the subgenus Sophophora, D. sechellia has specialized to consume and breed on Morinda fruit and D. erecta has similarly specialized on fruits of various Panandus species, as has D. yakuba although to a lesser degree. Within the subgenus Drosophila, D. buzzatii and D. mojavensis breed in cacti, while D. virilis and D. americana breed in the slime fluxes of deciduous trees. Even among specialists, adult flies may feed more broadly while larvae are more specialized. Arrows indicate substrate specialization by these species. Image credit: Therese Ann Markow.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.06793.006

Videos

Video 1
Three members of the cosmopolitan guild of Drosophila feeding.

D. hydei (the larger, dark flies) and D. melanogaster and D. simulans (the smaller, lighter flies) quietly feeding on the juice of a rotting tomato and on the microbes present on it. D. melanogaster and D. simulans are sibling species and are morphologically indistinguishable in the video. Video credit: Therese Ann Markow.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.06793.002
Video 2
Three members of the cosmopolitan guild of Drosophila interacting at a food source.

Drosophila: D. hydei (the larger, dark flies) and D. melanogaster and D. simulans (the smaller, lighter flies) interacting at a food source. Although there is little sexual dimorphism between males and females of the D. hydei species, males can be distinguished in the video because they approach other flies to court. In the D. melanogaster and D. simulans species, males are smaller than the females and have darker abdomens. These males can also be seen approaching other flies and attempting to court. Attempted courtships are brief and often end when females extrude their ovipositors. Notice that males will approach flies of different sexes and species, and that flies of D. hydei are much less active than those of D. simulans and D. melanogaster. D. melanogaster and D. simulans are sibling species and are morphologically indistinguishable in this video. Video credit: Therese Ann Markow.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.06793.003

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