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Fruit Flies Learn From Others

From new research conducted by Marine Battesti of the Universite Paris-Sud in France, lead author of a study in Springer’s journal, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, fruit flies learn from each other, especially when it comes to where to lay her eggs.

The site that a female fruit fly chooses to lay her eggs are a vital part of the survival of future generations, therefore such choices are not fixed, but are influenced by the environment, genetics and the social context.

In the experiment conducted by Battesti and her colleagues, they watched what happened when naïve “observer” flies were given two possible sites on which to lay their eggs. The observer flies were mixed in with “demonstrator” flies, that were already trained to prefer one of the two media, which allowed them to choose.

The research showed that fruit flies largely, but not completely, conform in their choice of sites on which to lay their eggs to cues from their social group.