11 Interesting Facts About Fruit Flies [Gnats Vs Fruit Flies]
The species of fly that is often referred to as ‘fruit fly’ or ‘vinegar fly’ belongs to the family Drosophilidae and order Diptera. The geographical range of these flies mainly includes all the continents, even including the islands.
Flies that belong to the family of Tephritidae are also seldom known as ‘fruit flies’. However, there are considerable differences between the variety of Fruit fly species.
Fruit Flies are genuinely common flies that are found primarily in places such as indoors of houses, restaurants, and other food-serving areas since their main attraction are food.
Some species of Fruit flies are also known to help in research because of their rapid life cycle and distinctive characteristics. Their primary dietary supplement includes fruits and from this, they get their name.
They exhibit some unique and distinctive habits and features that distinguish them from any other fly species belonging to the order Diptera.
Let’s explore and discover the most fascinating and interesting facts about Fruit Flies so that we can easily spot their uniqueness and differences from that of other fly species!
11 Interesting Facts About Fruit Flies
This article intends to present the eleven most fascinating and interesting facts about Fruit Flies concerning their attraction, lifespan, dietary habits, predators, reproduction, their differences with that of Gnats, their natural appearance, characteristic features, behaviors, and unique peculiarities.
1. What Attracts Fruit Flies?
Fruit Flies are generally attracted towards sugary organic matters, moist environments, and fermenting fruits and vegetables.
As their name suggests, they are mainly attracted to fruits and vegetables. Like any other flies, Fruit Flies too are highly intrigued and attracted towards comfortable breeding grounds and sources of their food supplements.
Fruit flies are attracted towards drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles and cans, mops, trash bags, and cleaning rags etc., These arenas serve as an excellent breeding ground for Fruit Flies.
2. How Long Do Fruit Flies Live?
Fruit Flies can naturally live for a period of 40-50 days on average under perfect climatic conditions and optimal temperature.
Even though Fruit Flies have a very short lifespan, they are miraculously capable of multiplying very quickly in such a given short stretch of time.
Fruit Flies hatch from their eggs within a day or so and produce larvae. In the next 5 days the larvae are ready to pupate and grow into an adult Fruit Fly within just a few weeks.
The lifespan of common Fruit Flies depends on environmental conditions and factors, especially adequate temperatures. When temperatures are high, Fruit Flies can complete their life cycle in 8-10 days on average.
3. What Do Fruit Flies Eat?
Fruit Flies primarily feed upon ripened or decaying organic matters such as fruits and vegetables. They also consume leaves, plant secretions and honeydew produced by aphids.
In their Larva stage, Fruit Flies are known to consume items such as garbage and residues that are available in or around their breeding arenas.
Sugary organic matter attracts these flies and they are easily drawn towards fruits and vegetables such as bananas, melons, tomatoes, avocados, and apples since these are amongst their favorite items.
Adult Fruit Flies are therefore predominantly known to consume fermenting fruits and vegetables and items that are easily available to them.
4. What Eats Fruit Flies?
The most common creature that feeds upon Fruit Flies is the frog. Although frogs depend upon a diverse range of items to feed upon, they consume flies including Fruit Flies quite often. Some other predators include spiders and arachnids.
Fruit Flies in their Larva and Pupa stages are most commonly fed by predators such as ants and staphylinid beetles.
Wasps, mites, dragonflies and crickets are some other predators that are known to predate and feed upon Fruit Fly Larvae and Pupa.
Therefore, Fruit Flies constitute to be one of the most important Flies species that is the main food supplement of many other smaller creatures, especially insects and other arthropods.
5. What Is the Difference Between Gnats and Fruit Flies?
Both Gnats and Fruit Flies belong to the order Diptera and can confuse people to a great extent because of their appearances and tendencies. However, despite their shared similarities, they differ considerably depending upon their characteristics and behaviors.
Gnats belong to the Mycetophilidae, Anisopodidae, and Sciaridae while Fruit Flies belong to the Tephritidae and Drosophilidae families.
The main differences between Gnats and Fruit Flies include their dissimilarities in respect to their distinctive characteristics, appearances, lifespan, and behaviors.
Fruit Flies are more often found in kitchen cavities and indoors, feeding upon fermenting fruits and vegetables.
Gnats, on the other hand, are mainly found outdoors. For example, Fungus Gnats are mainly found in moist soil outdoors such as compost piles and spending time in decaying organic matter.
They differ significantly from each other in respect to their physical appearances.
While Fruit Flies are beige or brownish-orange in color with red eyes, Gnats are gray or black in color with black eyes.
They also differ in their sizes. Fruit Flies are about ⅛ inch long but Gnats are about 1/16 inch long.
The lifespan of Fruit Flies is approximately 40 days but can live up to 3 months if conditions are right, but Gnats can only live up to 4 weeks on average. Therefore, Gnats and Fruit Flies differ considerably from each other.
6. How Often Do Fruit Flies Reproduce?
The entire life cycle of Fruit Flies is completed within the first week of their lifetime. The female Fruit Flies can lay up to 500 eggs at a time once they become adults.
Fruit Flies reproduce at a surprising rate and have the ability to lay hundreds of eggs at a particular time. In the next 24-30 hours, the eggs hatch and Larvae also known as Maggots are born.
Within the next one week, these Larvae transform into Pupa and ultimately emerge as adult Fruit Fly. Their eggs are mainly laid out on the surfaces of fermenting fruits and vegetables. Warm temperatures facilitate their reproduction rate even more.
7. At What Temperature Do Fruit Flies Die?
Fruit Flies are usually most active during the summertime in warmer temperatures and conditions. However, extreme climatic conditions are the most common reason for the death of Fruit Flies.
Extremely cold temperatures and conditions not only hamper the reproduction process of Fruit Flies and the development of their new generations but also leads to their death to a large extent.
In recent researches, scientists have discovered that at 60°F the lifespan of Fruit Flies decreases considerably. When the temperature falls further, to about 53°F, Fruit Flies stop growing completely and these extreme cold climatic conditions lead to the death of these flies.
8. Where Do Fruit Flies Lay Their Eggs?
Fruit Flies mainly lay their eggs in or near the surfaces of fermenting fruits and vegetables or around any other moist organic matter.
Female Fruit Flies are known to lay hundreds of eggs at a particular time and their life cycle is completed within the first week.
Other than rotting fruits and vegetables, Fruit Flies also lay their eggs near garbage disposals or in unclean drainage arenas.
After emerging out of the eggs, the Fruit Fly Larvae consumes the food that is available near the breeding arena and develops into Pupa and then an adult Fruit Fly.
9. How Are Mexican Fruit Flies An Environmental Issue?
Mexican Fruit Flies (Anastrepha ludens) are a fruit fly species that are generally native to Mexico and Central American areas and are well-known for their yellow-brown body, wing pattern and coloration.
This Fruit Fly species is often considered an environmental issue because of its tendency to lay eggs inside fruits.
Since these flies lay their eggs inside of the fruits, the larvae develop inside of the fruit itself and it feeds upon the fruit after it emerges from the fruit which destroys the fruit totally.
This is a serious issue because the fruit inside which these flies hatch their eggs such as apples, peaches, avocados and mangoes are very important crops of the United States, Mexico and Central America.
10. How Do Fruit Flies React to Light?
Fruit Flies seldom react to light, predominantly during their most active hours, i.e., morning and at dusk. Many of the researchers who explore the responses of Fruit Flies to light have provided different explanations for their responses.
A study by the University of Miami has shown that these flies have a ‘time and color-dependent preference’ for light.
They have suggested that Fruit Flies are attracted towards a green light in the morning and afternoon, when they are most active and are drawn towards red or dim light, in midday when they usually slow down.
Thus, there is a need for further research to understand the responses of Fruit Flies towards the light.
11. What Climate Do Fruit Flies Hate?
Fruit Flies generally hate the extreme climatic conditions, especially extremely cold and wintry climates. Extreme cold temperatures hamper their growth and development, and can even lead to their death.
Temperature below 60 degrees Fahrenheit leads to a sharp decline in the lifespan of Fruit Flies which results in their hampered growth and development.
If the temperature falls below 53 degrees Fahrenheit, it may lead to their death since extreme climatic conditions and extreme fall of temperatures affect their survival. Thus, Fruit Flies are more adapted and comfortable in warmer temperatures and environmental conditions.
From the above discussions on Fruit Flies, it is crystal clear that these species of flies are unique in their own ways and have their own peculiarities and attributes.
This article has covered the eleven most fascinating and distinctive characteristics of Fruit Flies. Their attractions, dietary preferences, lifespan, predators, differences with that of Gnats, reproduction, and preferences of temperatures are discovered in this article.
These flies are attracted towards fruits and moisture and are very different from that Gnats. Even though they have a very short lifespan, they produce hundreds of their offerings. Their reaction towards light has encouraged much new research.
Therefore, although these flies may seem annoying and a nuisance to many, these fruit-loving flies are one of their kind and deserve to be appreciated.