Fly pheromones can say yes and no | Science News

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Fly pheromones can say yes and no

The same chemicals that attract can also maintain the species barrier

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2:57pm, October 14, 2009

View a video of flies showing unusual courtship behavior.

Honey’s sweet smell attracts more flies than does vinegar’s sour odor, but the ultimate fruit-fly magnet is eau de nothing.

Ditching pheromones makes male and female fruit flies super-sexy to male flies, even to males of other species, Joel Levine, a neurogeneticist at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, and his colleagues report in the October 15 Nature. The discovery suggests pheromones can be back-off rather than come-hither signals. The finding could lead to a better understanding of the chemical signals that help flies and other animals interpret the world, i

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