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Fruit Flies Go Hungry Without Food, Study Finds | UK News

Fruit flies are hungry when starved, a new study has shown.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the University of Oxford observed that male fruit flies became more aggressive the longer they went without food.

But their “suspension” only lasted up to a point, as their combative behavior stabilized after 24 hours, experts said.

To carry out the experiment, the researchers scanned vials of male fruit flies containing different amounts of food to record the number of lunges and fights they made against each other.

Those who could not access food chased and “closed” themselves more.

Dr Jen Perry, lead author of the study, from the UEA School of Biological Sciences, said: “We have found that hungry male fruit flies display more hostility towards each other.

“They are more likely to aggressively throw at each other and hit each other with their legs (‘fencing’ behavior), and they spend more time defending food plots.

“The hungrier they are, the more fighting spirit they show. In other words, just like humans, fruit flies are ‘hungry’.

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The study suggested that food-deprived fruit flies could suffer from what is known as the “desperado” effect, where they engage in fights even when they are likely to lose.

These fights carry risks of physical damage and energy expenditure, they said.

But it could be a way to maximize productivity in environments where they have to fight to survive, added Dr Danielle Edmunds.

No flies died in the experiment, the results of which are published in the journal Animal Behavior.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-05 05:14:00

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