Photo Credit: digicla

Why can’t I drink alcohol but a mere fruit fly is able to, you ask? Well unless you wish for wasps to lay their eggs inside you I suggest you drop that argument.

A new article explains what is going on. Fruit flies eat a lot of yeast (which as we know from our studies breaks down sugar and in the process produces alcohol). They do this because a certain kind of wasp actually lays its’ eggs inside of a fruit fly, so that when the eggs hatch the baby wasps can eat the living fly and eventually leave the body when they are grown. Beware because things get more disgusting than that…

To prevent such malicious murder, the flies have a trick of their own. They consume so much yeast that they are considered “drunk”. The alcohol smells so bad to the wasps that not only do they choose to not lay their eggs within that particular fly, but any eggs they do lay meet a very violent end.

Here is where things get worse. In a study done by Dr. Schlenke, wasps were allowed to lay eggs in two flies. One fly was perfectly sober, and one was fed food that had 6% alcohol in it. As I’ve said, more wasps layer their eggs in the sober fly, and less in the drunk fly. However, the eggs that did get laid in the drunk fly did not meet an honorable end. Dr. Schlenke found that 65 percent of the eggs inside of the drunk fly not only died, but died because all of their tiny inside organs had shot out through their anus. At this point I wish that I was not writing about this article, but the show must go on.

It was also discovered by Dr. Schlenke that if a fly ate the alcohol ridden yeast before being violated by the wasps, it made no difference. Such a discovery lead scientists to ponder whether the flies realized the deadly wasps inside of them and so chose to eat the yeast then, in order to kill off the parasite. Further experiments with flies showed that the flies do indeed seek out the alcohol as a self medication to kill off the wasps inside of them.

Smart flies right? Can you believe that this is what fruit flies have to put up with? Or that little tiny flies can get drunk off the alcohol produced by yeast? I, for one, will take a drinking age of 21 any day instead of having tiny wasps live inside me. But thats just me, what do you think?

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