09 December 2008

When fruit flies go bad

They become winos.

A week ago we developed a fruit fly infestation in the house. The event that triggered the explosion in the population of our close domestic associates was some kiwis and grapes that were being kept on a countertop. We have since gotten rid of the fruit, but Drosophila are still hanging around. The cold weather we've been having may also be forcing them to stay indoors.

Last night, my glass of Cabernet Sauvignon was their focus of attention.

Drosophila&Wine

A bunch of them quickly developed an intimate relationship with the fermented grape juice. So much so that eventually one lost its footing and ended up in on the wine; they are not heavy enough to overcome the surface tension and just float like water striders, but quite helplessly, unlike the latter.

Drosophila&WIne2

I rescued it and put it back on the rim of the glass. It fell right back in. It had definitely had one whiff too much.

Why are fruit flies attracted to wine? According to Demerec & Kaufmann's Drosophila Guide:


It is, therefore, not surprising that Drosophila finds wine, grape juice fermented by yeast, attractive.

I don't mind having a few on my glass as long as they don't drink it all up or keep falling in it.

4 comments:

Mike O'Risal said...

They're just protein, anyhow.

As a consumer of wild fungi, I know that I frequently eat a few fungus gnat larvae when I'm enjoying a nice Laetiporus. It's harmless; just think of your wine and/or fruit as being fortified with a few extra essential nutrients.

Works for me, anyhow. ;)

Katie said...

You could always try keeping the glass covered between sips with a small index card. Of course, if you don't mind the extra nutrients...

Snail said...

Just drink more quickly!

m.e. said...

i do what katie suggested, exept i use junk mail--the happy birthday postcard from the dentist, an extra 10% off from FAVORED MERCHANT, etc.

a delightful post...and such great close-ups.