Science Project:

Fruit Fly Life Cycle

3.1 based on 30 ratings

Fruit Fly Sex Differences

Some of the most important information discovered about fruit flies involves chromosomes.Chromosomes contain DNA in cells that gives instructions for how organisms function and develop. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Fruit flies have only 4. One of the four pairs of chromosomes is called the sex chromosomes. How the sex chromosomes are paired determines whether the fly is male or female. Male fruit flies, and male humans, have an X and Y chromosome. Female fruit flies, and female humans, have two X chromosomes. In the early 1900s, fruit fly geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan used his extensive data on multiple fruit fly generations to determine how chromosomes were related to genes in all organisms.

Problem

What is the life cycle of a fruit fly?

Materials

  • Overripe banana
  • One quart jar
  • Large rubber band
  • Magnifying glass or dissecting microscope
  • Wingless fruit fly cultures (optional, can be bought from a pet store)

Procedure

  1. Peel the banana and place it in an uncapped jar outside.
  2. In a couple hours, you should find tiny fruit flies crawling around the banana. You need to capture a number of fruit flies for this experiment to work. If no fruit flies have arrived on your banana, try waiting a couple more hours, or if you’re doing your experiment in the winter, you can order wingless fruit flies through a pet store.
  3. Cover the jar with a paper towel.
  4. Secure the paper towel with a rubber band.
  5. Using the magnifying glass, try to observe fruit flies and see if you can identify the males and females.
  6. Keeping the paper towel secure, observe the fruit flies every day for at least ten days using the magnifying glass.

Results

At first, you might notice tiny white wet specks on the banana surface. These are the eggs that the fruit flies laid. After a couple days, you should notice little white wormlike creatures on the surface of the banana. Since fruit flies are still flies, these cute little white worms are called maggots.

Fruit Fly Incubation

These maggots keep themselves busy eating tunnels through the banana all day and night. Four or five days later, the maggots will attach themselves to the inside wall of the jar, forming structures that look like large rice grains, which darken after a couple days. About ten days later, tiny flies should emerge from the banana. If the decomposing banana is not grossing your family out, you can observe how this generation of flies mates and lays eggs, repeating the life cycle.

Fruit Fly Life Cycle

Why?

Fruit flies are insects, and like all insects, they go through distinct live stages. The fruit flies you captured laid eggs, and those white wiggly maggots you observed are the second stage of fruit fly development, called larvae, just like caterpillars are the larval stage of butterflies and moths. Those little specks were the third stage in the fruit fly life cycle, called pupae. The specks darkened as the flies’ legs, wings, and heads developed.

Going Further

Repeat the experiment putting jars at different temperatures. How does this affect the fruit fly behavior? Research some genetics experiments done with flies. You can even order fruit fly kits at some online science stores.

Author: Beth Touchette
Disclaimer and Safety Precautions

Education.com provides the Science Fair Project Ideas for informational purposes only. Education.com does not make any guarantee or representation regarding the Science Fair Project Ideas and is not responsible or liable for any loss or damage, directly or indirectly, caused by your use of such information. By accessing the Science Fair Project Ideas, you waive and renounce any claims against Education.com that arise thereof. In addition, your access to Education.com's website and Science Fair Project Ideas is covered by Education.com's Privacy Policy and site Terms of Use, which include limitations on Education.com's liability.

Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

How likely are you to recommend Education.com to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely