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Flies may reveal evolutionary step to live birth
Date:11/25/2008

the basis for it, but we ought to be looking," Markow said. "It's very interesting. It tells you who's really going to be able control reproduction."

Early hatching offers advantages, the authors say. Mobile larvae can burrow into the ground to avoid becoming inadvertent hosts to the eggs of parasitic insects or a predator's meal. But harboring offspring for a longer period of time costs the female.

The opportunity to take that risk may come with specialization. The Seychelles flies feed only on the fruit of the morinda tree, a tropical plant that produces year round, but is toxic to other fruit flies, giving this single species exclusive access.

One other fly in the study, Drosophila yakuba, also occasionally laid larvae instead of eggs, and their eggs also hatched fairly quickly, most in under 14 hours. It too specializes in a particular fruit, that of the Pandanus tree.


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Contact: Susan Brown
sdbrown@ucsd.edu
858-246-1061
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

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