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Fruit flies force their babies to drink alcohol

Researchers at Emory University found that when fruit flies sense parasitic wasps in their vicinity, they lay their eggs in alcohol.
Fruit flyEnlarge
Fruit flies soak their larvae in alcohol to keep them protected from predators. (Wikipedia/Wikimedia commons)

What do fruit flies and French parents have in common?

They both introduce their children to alcohol at a young age - for entirely different reasons of course.

French parents are just following an age-old tradition of wine consumption with a meal.

Fruit flies are trying to protect themselves from predators.

Researchers at Emory University found that when fruit flies sense parasitic wasps in their vicinity, they lay their eggs in alcohol, reported NPR.

This forces the babies to consume liquor that kills the wasps.

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"The adult flies actually anticipate an infection risk to their children, and then they medicate them by depositing them in alcohol," said study author Todd Schlenke, according to Science Daily.

"We found that this medicating behavior was shared by diverse fly species, adding to the evidence that using toxins in the environment to medicate offspring may be common across the animal kingdom."

The nasty endoparasitoid wasps inject their own larvae into that of the innocent fruit fly, said Phys Org.

When they hatch, the wasps consume the fruit flies unless they can kill them first.

The findings were published in the journal Science.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/fruit-flies-force-their-babies-drink-alcohol

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