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Fruit Flies Medicate Offspring With Alcohol 64

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-friend-of-mine-does-that-too dept.
Copper Nikus writes "In yet another fascinating example of insects being smarter than we give them credit for, this article describes how fruit flies are able to fight back against deadly wasps by using alcohol. Quoting: 'These wasps lay eggs on the larva or pupa of the flies, and their offspring feed on the animal internally, often killing them in the process. (Flies have larval stages, during which we call them maggots, and pupate just as butterflies do before emerging in their adult form.) Once infected, there isn't much one of the larva can do to get rid of the parasite. Its one option: booze (abstract). Fruit flies, as their name implies, like to dine on fruit, especially during the larval stages. In many cases, that involves ingesting the alcohol that's produced by natural fermentation of rotting fruit (this can approach 20 percent alcohol content). Some species of flies have developed the ability to tolerate this alcohol as they chew through the fruit as maggots. But for most of the wasp species, even moderate levels of alcohol are toxic."
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Fruit Flies Medicate Offspring With Alcohol

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  • Re:WTF, dude ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jklovanc (1603149) on Friday February 22, 2013 @07:04PM (#42985721)

    "mailbox is mildewed"

    That mailbox has to be handled by a mailman every weekday who may deal with hundreds of mailboxes. Mold and mildew release spores that can spread from mailbox to mailbox transported by the mailman, The mailman himself may inhale those spores, become infected, become ill and, depending on the fungus, possibly die. If it was only effecting the mail box owner then rant on but in this case it could effect many others.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes. -- Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, UTCS