taxonomic family of flies

The Drosophilidae is a huge, widespread (cosmopolitan) family of flies, which includes the famous fruit flies. The family has over 4000 species in 75 genera.[1] A recent publication lists the species:[2]

There is another unrelated family of flies, the Tephritidae, which includes species also known as "fruit flies".

The best known species of the Drosophilidae is Drosophila melanogaster. This species and its relatives are often used for studies on genetics, development, physiology, and behaviour.[3]

D. melanogaster is not so much studied in the field as in the laboratory. The best-known studies of Drosophila in a natural environment was done by Dobzhansky and colleagues on Drosophila pseudoobscura from the early 1930s to 1970. Reprints and discussions are in Lewontin et al 2003,[4] and theoretical discussions in Dobzhansky, 1970.[5]

The cells of fruit flies usually do not divide after the imago is hatched. The fruit fly is mostly composed of post-mitotic cells, has a very short lifespan, and shows gradual ageing. As in other species, temperature influences the life history of the animal. They live longer in colder weather. Several genes can be manipulated to extend the lifespan of these insects.

The Drosophilidae has two subfamilies, the Drosophilinae and the Steganinae.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Markow, Therese A. and O'Grady, Patrick 2005. Drosophila: a guide to species identification and use. Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-473052-3
  2. Yassin, Amir 2013. Phylogenetic classification of the Drosophilidae Rondani (Diptera): The role of morphology in the postgenomic era. Systematic Entomology. 38 (2): 349–364.[1]
  3. Ashburner M; Golic K & Hawley S 2005. Drosophila: a laboratory handbook Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
  4. Lewontin R.C; Moore, John C; Provine W.B. & Wallace B. (eds) 2003. Dobzhansky's genetics of natural populations I–XVIII. New York: Columbia University Press.
  5. Dobzhansky T. 1970. Genetics of the evolutionary process. New York: Columbia University Press.