Scent of a fruit fly larva comes from its gut microbes

Bacteria, not larvae themselves, produce smell that attracts others of their kind

By Susan Milius, 16:33 PM April 16, 2014

Fruit fly larvae’s alluring and socially important odor turns out not to come from the flies at all, but from their gut microbes.

Scent is a big deal to Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies. Both adults and larvae tend to shun untouched food in favor of clustering where larvae have already fed, researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, reported last year. The insects find such food by the larvae’s scent.

Now McMaster researchers have found that fruit flies outsource this bit of att...

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