Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Happy Flies Look For A Place Like Home

Date:
December 27, 2009
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
A happy youth can influence where a fruit fly chooses to live as an adult, according to new research. The study provides new insight into how animals choose places to live and raise their young.

A happy youth can influence where a fruit fly chooses to live as an adult, according to new research in the American Naturalist. The study, led by Judy Stamps from the University of California at Davis, provides new insight into how animals choose places to live and raise their young.

Related Articles


Like humans who move out of their parents' houses in young adulthood, most animals leave their birthplaces before they start to raise families of their own, a phenomenon known as natal dispersal. Scientists have noticed that dispersers tend to settle down in new habitats that are similar to where they were born -- even when they have several habitat options to choose from. Studies have documented the behavior in a wide range of animals, including insects, reptiles and mammals. Stamps and her colleagues coined a term for it: natal habitat preference induction.

But why animals choose a new home that is like their birthplace is a mystery. Are they genetically hard-wired to do this, or is it a conditioned response that depends on an animal's experience in youth?

To answer that question, the researchers set up an experiment designed to give fruit flies either a "good" or "bad" experience in their youths. They set up two fruit fly habitats containing different types of food and shelter, and placed flies in the pupa stage -- just before they become full-fledge flies -- into those habitats. Some young flies were given the happy experience of having full access to tasty food and safe hiding places after they emerged from their pupae. But others were given a less positive experience. They could smell the food and see the shelter, but were unable to eat or hide. After the flies reached maturity, the food and shelters were removed, and the flies were provided with a choice of two new habitats in which to live. The flies that had the good experience in youth tended to choose habitats that contained the same type of food and shelter as where they grew up, the researchers found. The flies that had the negative experience showed no preference for habitats similar to their birth habitats.

The results, Stamps says, suggest that "associative learning" is involved when young fruit flies choose a new habitat. Flies are apparently able to connect cues from their birthplaces with the experiences they had there. Flies that associated the smell of food and the sight of shelter with a nice meal and a safe hiding place sought a new habitat with the same sort of food and hiding places. But if those same cues were not associated with feeding and safety, the flies were not inordinately drawn to that habitat type.

Whether other animals would react the same way is still an open question, Stamps says.

"It would be fun to see whether humans with happy childhoods also prefer to settle in areas that are similar to those in which they were born and raised," she said. "Are we more likely to choose a new habitat like a large city versus a small town versus countryside based on where we were raised and what happened to us there?"


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Stamps et al. How Different Types of Natal Experience Affect Habitat Preference. The American Naturalist, 2009; 174 (5): 623 DOI: 10.1086/644526

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Happy Flies Look For A Place Like Home." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091020162230.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2009, December 27). Happy Flies Look For A Place Like Home. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091020162230.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Happy Flies Look For A Place Like Home." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091020162230.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins