Image-of-the-Week: Boozy Fruit Flies

| Fri Feb. 17, 2012 3:07 PM EST

 Credit: David Marquina Reyes via Flickr.

Credit: David Marquina Reyes via Flickr.

Fruit flies live on fruit, and a lot of fruit rots and ferments, so that fruit flies also live to some extent on alcohol. A new paper in Current Biology reports on whether this boozy lifestyle contributes anything besides slurred flight, impromptu couplings, and fruit fights (okay, I made that part up). What they found was that having an elevated blood alcohol was the best defense against a parasitic wasp that lays its eggs in their bloodstream. In lab tests, researchers from Emory U in Georgia found the larvae of infected fruit flies self-medicated with booze (the first ever case for an insect) equivalent in alcohol to beer, and that boozers survived infestation better than teetotalers... To the holidays—all 365 of them.