What sounds like humming to humans is magic to flies
Mar 10, 2011
Scientists have recorded the mating sounds of fruit flies, based on new research from the Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, according to Discovery News.
Male fruit flies - also known as Drosophila melanogaster - perform these "love songs" that sound like humming or low-level snoring to the human ear, but is actually "irresistible" to the female fruit fly.
Neurobiologists are using fruit flies to understand sensory cell functions, muscle-movement as well as higher level control behavior.
"[T]he command to sing comes from a center located in the brain. This network of cells receives input from various sources. ...What the fly sees, hears and smells is channeled to this circuit and, together with pre-existing information obtained from prior experience, a decision is made to court or not to court the female," according to the new research.
Fruit flies have long been used in molecular biology research. Their short life cycle - about two weeks - as well as their surprising genetic similarity to higher organisms make Drosophila an ideal specimen.