The secret life of fruit flies

Scientists find that the most attractive scent for a fruit fly is no scent at all

By Stephen Ornes, 00:00 AM October 23, 2009

The cells in <em>Drosophila melanogaster</em> that produce pheromones are located in the abdomen. Here, the cells are marked by a green fluorescent protein.

The cells in Drosophila melanogaster that produce pheromones are located in the abdomen. Here, the cells are marked by a green fluorescent protein.

Jean-Christophe Billeter

View a video of fruit flies displaying unusual courtship behavior.

Fruit flies linger over a bowl of rotting fruit. To untrained eyes, the flies may look like a swarming nuisance, but scientists have found that flies’ swoops and buzzes are ways to send signals through the crowd. Another, less obvious way these insects...

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