The Drosophilidae are a diverse, cosmopolitan family of flies, which includes fruit flies. Another unrelated family of flies, Tephritidae, also includes species known as "small fruit flies". The best known species of the Drosophilidae is Drosophila melanogaster, within the genus Drosophila, and this species is used extensively for studies concerning genetics, development, physiology, ecology and behaviour. This fruit fly is mostly composed of post-mitotic cells, has a very short lifespan, and shows gradual aging. As in other species, temperature influences the life history of the animal. Several genes have been identified that can be manipulated to extend the lifespan of these insects.

Drosophila sp.
Scientific classification

Róndani, 1856

Economic significance

Generally, drosophilids are considered to be nuisance flies rather than pests, since most species breed in rotting material. Zaprionus indianus Gupta is unusual among Drosophilidae species in being a serious, primary pest of at least one commercial fruit, figs in Brazil.[1] Another species, Drosophila suzukii, infests thin-skinned fruit such as raspberries and cherries and can be a serious agricultural pest.[2] Drosophila repleta larvae inhabit drains and spread bacteria. Fruit flies in general are considered as a common vector in propagating acetic acid bacteria[3] in nature. This often ruins the alcohol fermentation process and can ruin beer or wine by turning it into vinegar.


The diagnostic characteristics for Drosophilidae include the presence of an incomplete subcostal vein, two breaks in the costal vein, a small anal cell in the wing, convergent postocellar bristles; and usually three frontal bristles on each side of the head, one directed forward and the other two directed rearward. More extensive identification characteristics can be found in "Drosophila: A Guide to Species Identification and Use" by Therese A. Markow and Patrick O'Grady, (Academic Press, 2005) ISBN 0-12-473052-3 or "Drosophila: A Laboratory Handbook" by M. Ashburner, K. Golic, S. Hawley, (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2005).

Anti-parasitic behavior

Of their many defenses against parasites, when Drosophila melanogaster flies see female larval endoparasitoid wasps, they switch to laying their eggs in alcohol-laden food sources such as rotting fruit. Doing so protects the flies from becoming host to the larvae, as the wasps have a low alcohol tolerance. This oviposition behavior change only occurs upon seeing the female wasp larva and does not take place in the presence of the male wasp larva.[4]


The family contains more than 4,000 species classified under 75 genera. Recently, a comprehensive phylogenetic classification of the genera based on both molecular and morphological characters has been published.[5]

  • Subfamily Drosophilinae Rondani, 1856:
    • Tribe Colocasiomyini Okada, 1989:
      • Genus Baeodrosophila Wheeler & Takada, 1964
      • Genus Balara Bock, 1982
      • Genus Chymomyza Czerny, 1903
      • Genus Colocasiomyia de Meijere, 1914
      • Genus Lissocephala Malloch, 1929
      • Genus Neotanygastrella Duda, 1925
      • Genus Phorticella Duda, 1924
      • Genus Scaptodrosophila Duda, 1923
      • Genus Protochymomyza Grimaldi, 1987
    • Tribe Drosophilini Okada, 1989:
      • Genus Arengomyia Yafuso & Toda, 2008
      • Genus Bialba Bock, 1989
      • Genus Calodrosophila Wheeler & Takada, 1964
      • Genus Celidosoma Hardy, 1965
      • Genus Collessia Bock, 1982
      • Genus Dettopsomyia Lamb, 1914
      • Genus Dichaetophora Duda, 1940
      • Genus Dicladochaeta Malloch, 1932
      • Genus Drosophila Fallén, 1823
      • Genus Hirtodrosophila Duda, 1923
      • Genus Hypselothyrea Okada, 1956
      • Genus Idiomyia Grimshaw, 1901 (Hawaiian Drosophila)
      • Genus Jeannelopsis Séguy, 1938
      • Genus Laccodrosophila Duda, 1927
      • Genus Liodrosophila Duda, 1922
      • Genus Lordiphosa Basden, 1961
      • Genus Microdrosophila Malloch, 1921
      • Genus Miomyia Grimaldi, 1987
      • Genus Mulgravea Bock, 1982
      • Genus Mycodrosophila Oldenberg, 1914
      • Genus Palmomyia Grimaldi, 2003
      • Genus Paraliodrosophila Duda, 1925
      • Genus Paramycodrosophila Duda, 1924
      • Genus Poliocephala Bock, 1989
      • Genus Samoaia Malloch, 1934
      • Genus Scaptomyza Hardy, 1849
      • Genus Sphaerogastrella Duda, 1922
      • Genus Styloptera Duda, 1924
      • Genus Tambourella Wheeler, 1957
      • Genus Zaprionus Coquillett, 1902
      • Genus Zaropunis Tsacas, 1990
      • Genus Zapriothrica Wheeler, 1956
      • Genus Zygothrica Wiedemann, 1830
    • Incertae sedis:
  • Subfamily Steganinae Hendel, 1917:
    • Tribe Gitonini Grimaldi, 1990:
      • Genus Allopygaea Tsacas, 2000
      • Genus Acletoxenus Frauenfeld, 1868
      • Genus Amiota Loew, 1862
      • Genus Apenthecia Tsacas, 1983
      • Genus Apsiphortica Okada, 1971
      • Genus Cacoxenus Loew, 1858
      • Genus Crincosia Bock, 1982
      • Genus Electrophortica Hennig, 1965
      • Genus Erima Kertész, 1899
      • Genus Gitona Meigen, 1830
      • Genus Hyalistata Wheeler, 1960
      • Genus Luzonimyia Malloch, 1926
      • Genus Mayagueza Wheeler, 1960
      • Genus Paracacoxenus Hardy & Wheeler, 1960
      • Genus Paraleucophenga Hendel, 1914
      • Genus Paraphortica Duda, 1934
      • Genus Phortica Schiner, 1862
      • Genus Pseudiastata Coquillett, 1901
      • Genus Pseudocacoxenus Duda, 1925
      • Genus Rhinoleucophenga Hendel, 1917
      • Genus Soederbomia Hendel, 1938
      • Genus Trachyleucophenga Hendel, 1917
    • Tribe Steganini Okada, 1989:
      • Genus Eostegana Hendel, 1913
      • Genus Leucophenga Mik, 1866
      • Genus Pararhinoleucophenga Duda, 1924
      • Genus Parastegana Okada, 1971
      • Genus Pseudostegana Okada, 1978
      • Genus Stegana Meigen, 1830
    • Incertae sedis:
      • Genus Neorhinoleucophenga Duda, 1924
      • Genus Pyrgometopa Kertész, 1901


Sa fruitfly3

Close-up of fruit fly proboscis

Sa fruitfly4

Front view

Fruit fly5
Drosophilidae compound eye edit1

Drosophilidae compound eye

External links


  1. ^ "Pest Alerts - Zaprionus indianus Gupta, DPI". Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Archived from the original on 2013-10-12. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  2. ^ Drosophila suzukii Center of Invasive Species Research
  3. ^ Vinegars of the World. Chapter 5. ISBN 978-88-470-0865-6
  4. ^ Kacsoh BZ; Lynch ZR; Mortimer NT; Schlenke TA (Feb 2013). "fruit flies medicate offspring after seeing parasites". Science. 339 (6122): 947–950. doi:10.1126/science.1229625. PMC 3760715. PMID 23430653.
  5. ^ Yassin, Amir (2013). "Phylogenetic classification of the Drosophilidae Rondani (Diptera): The role of morphology in the postgenomic era". Systematic Entomology. 38 (2): 349–364. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3113.2012.00665.x.

The Camillidae are a family of flies, or Diptera. The family has five genera (four living; one fossil).

Cladochaeta (fly)

Cladochaeta is a genus of spittlebug flies, insects in the family Drosophilidae. There are at least 120 described species in Cladochaeta.


The Curtotonidae or quasimodo flies are a small family of small grey to dark brown humpbacked flies (Diptera) with a worldwide distribution, but with very few species in the Nearctic, Australasian/Oceanian, and Palaearctic regions. Most members of the family are found in tropical to subtropical latitudes in Africa and the Neotropics. Many remain undescribed in collections, since little work on the family has been done since the 1930s.


Diastatidae are a family of flies, and are in the order Diptera. They occur primarily in the Holarctic Region, but several species are known from the Oriental, Neotropical, and Australasian regions. Members of the family number over 20 described species in three genera. There is an additional fossil genus.


Drosophila () is a genus of flies, belonging to the family Drosophilidae, whose members are often called "small fruit flies" or (less frequently) pomace flies, vinegar flies, or wine flies, a reference to the characteristic of many species to linger around overripe or rotting fruit. They should not be confused with the Tephritidae, a related family, which are also called fruit flies (sometimes referred to as "true fruit flies"); tephritids feed primarily on unripe or ripe fruit, with many species being regarded as destructive agricultural pests, especially the Mediterranean fruit fly. One species of Drosophila in particular, D. melanogaster, has been heavily used in research in genetics and is a common model organism in developmental biology. The terms "fruit fly" and "Drosophila" are often used synonymously with D. melanogaster in modern biological literature. The entire genus, however, contains more than 1,500 species and is very diverse in appearance, behavior, and breeding habitat.

Drosophila (subgenus)

Drosophila is a paraphyletic subgenus of the genus Drosophila, a classification of fruit flies. This subgenus was first described by Alfred Sturtevant in 1939.

Drosophila lanaiensis

Drosophila lanaiensis was a species of fly in family Drosophilidae that was endemic to Hawaii. It lived on Lānaʻi, and possibly on Oʻahu.

Drosophila melanogaster species group

The Drosophila melanogaster species group belongs to the subgenus Sophophora and contains 10 subgroups. The phylogeny in this species group is poorly known despite many studies covering many of the species subgroups. The most likely explanation is that the various subgroups diverted from each other in a relative short evolutionary time frame. Three subgroups have not yet been investigated in molecular studies, and their position in the phylogeny is unclear. The suzukii subgroup is paraphyletic as D. lucipennis is systematically placed within the elegans subgroup.

Species subgroups:

D. denticulata species subgroup

D. elegans species subgroup

D. eugracilis species subgroup

D. ficusphila species subgroup

D. flavohirta species subgroup

D. longissima species subgroup

D. melanogaster species subgroup

D. rhopaloa species subgroup

D. suzukii species subgroup

D. takahashii species subgroup

Drosophila persimilis

Drosophila persimilis is a species of fruit fly that is a sister species to D. pseudoobscura, and was one of 12 fruitfly genomes sequenced for a large comparative study.


The Drosophilinae are the largest subfamily in the Drosophilidae. The other subfamily is the Steganinae.


Ephydridae (shore fly, sometimes brine fly) is a family of insects in the order Diptera.

Shore flies are tiny flies that can be found near seashores or at smaller inland waters, such as ponds. About 2,000 species have been described worldwide, including Ochthera.

The petroleum fly, Helaeomyia petrolei, is the only known insect whose larvae live in naturally occurring crude petroleum. Another notable species is Ephydra hians which lives in vast number at Mono Lake.


Lordiphosa is a genus of fly in the family Drosophilidae.


Mycodrosophila is a genus of vinegar flies, insects in the family Drosophilidae. There are at least 120 described species in Mycodrosophila.


Scaptomyza is a genus of vinegar flies, insects in the family Drosophilidae. There are at least 270 described species in Scaptomyza.


The subgenus Siphlodora belongs to genus Drosophila and consists of two species that share a sigmoid-shaped posterior crossvein. Phylogenetically, the subgenus is positioned within the virilis-repleta radiation.


The paraphyletic subgenus Sophophora of the genus Drosophila was first described by Alfred Sturtevant in 1939. It contains the best-known drosophilid species, Drosophila melanogaster. Sophophora translates as carrier (phora) of wisdom (sophos). The subgenus is paraphyletic because the genus Lordiphosa and the species Hirtodrosophila duncani are also placed within this subgenus.


The Steganinae Hendel, 1917, is the smaller of two subfamilies in the fruit fly family Drosophilidae. The other subfamily is the Drosophilinae.


The Tephritidae are one of two fly families referred to as fruit flies, the other family being the Drosophilidae. The family Tephritidae does not include the biological model organisms of the genus Drosophila (in the family Drosophilidae), which is often called the "common fruit fly". Nearly 5,000 described species of tephritid fruit fly are categorized in almost 500 genera of the Tephritidae. Description, recategorization, and genetic analyses are constantly changing the taxonomy of this family. To distinguish them from the Drosophilidae, the Tephritidae are sometimes called peacock flies, in reference to their elaborate and colorful markings. The name comes from the Greek τεφρος, tephros, meaning "ash grey". They are found in all the ecozones.


The genus Zaprionus belongs to the family fruit fly Drosophilidae and is positioned within the paraphyletic genus Drosophila. All species are easily recognized by the white longitudinal stripes across the head and thorax. The genus is subdivided in two subgenera, based on the presence of an even (subgenus Zaprionus) or odd (subgenus Anaprionus) number of white stripes. The species of the genus can be found in African and Southern Asia. One species, Zaprionus indianus, has invaded the New World.

Extant Diptera families


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