Never Miss a word!
Kids need Science
Kids Need Science is devoted to demystifying and explaining science, technology, engineering and math words, names, and concepts. Check back often for a science, technology, engineering or math word defined and explained every day.
featured-on-pbsparents-button
.
MAP OF VISITORS WORLDWIDE
Tip Jar. This blog is completely self-funded and is 100% original content. Consider a small donation to help buy dictionaries and images to use on this site. Thanks!
The common fruit fly (drosophila melanogaster) has a long and remarkable history in science.  The drosophila family was first described by Swedish botanist and entomologist Carl Frederick Fallen in 1815.  The name drosophila comes from the Ancient Greek words  δρόσος (drosos) meaning dew, and φίλος (philos, with a Latinate feminine ending as phila) meaning  lover.  The name melanogaster also comes from Ancient Greek, from the words μέλας (melas) meaning  dark-coloured, and γαστήρ (gaster) meaning belly.  The species melanogaster was first systematically studied and described by the self-taught German entomologist known as the father of dipterology Johann Wilhelm Meigen.  Meigen was involved in a dispute with the Great taxonomist Fabricius, when Fabricius visited the self-taught Meigen and criticized his classification system of diptera.  Meigen pointed out that even Fabricius deviated from his own taxonomic classification system (see post on the Polygonia for more of Fabricius’s difficulties), but it would be another 18 years before Meigen had the stature to undertake a full revision of Fabricius.  

The drosophila melanogaster did not come to full fame until the 1880s when American entomologist Charles W. Woodworth chose the melanogaster for use in genetic experiments while studying at Harvard University.  Not long after Thomas Hunt Morgan of Columbia University started using melangaster for heredity experiments, confirming Mendelian theories systematically over many generations.  Final fascinating fact of the drosophila family:  the males have some of the longest sperm in the animal kingdom, some having sperm that measure as long as two inches! (!), delivered to the female in tightly wound bunches.  By comparison, the human sperm is microscopic, measuring only tenths of milimeters across.  

Image of a male drosophila melanogaster courtesy Max Westby, used with permission under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.

The common fruit fly (drosophila melanogaster) has a long and remarkable history in science. The drosophila family was first described by Swedish botanist and entomologist Carl Frederick Fallen in 1815. The name drosophila comes from the Ancient Greek words δρόσος (drosos) meaning dew, and φίλος (philos, with a Latinate feminine ending as phila) meaning lover. The name melanogaster also comes from Ancient Greek, from the words μέλας (melas) meaning dark-coloured, and γαστήρ (gaster) meaning belly. The species melanogaster was first systematically studied and described by the self-taught German entomologist known as the father of dipterology Johann Wilhelm Meigen. Meigen was involved in a dispute with the Great taxonomist Fabricius, when Fabricius visited the self-taught Meigen and criticized his classification system of diptera. Meigen pointed out that even Fabricius deviated from his own taxonomic classification system (see post on the Polygonia for more of Fabricius’s difficulties), but it would be another 18 years before Meigen had the stature to undertake a full revision of Fabricius.

The drosophila melanogaster did not come to full fame until the 1880s when American entomologist Charles W. Woodworth chose the melanogaster for use in genetic experiments while studying at Harvard University. Not long after Thomas Hunt Morgan of Columbia University started using melangaster for heredity experiments, confirming Mendelian theories systematically over many generations. Final fascinating fact of the drosophila family: the males have some of the longest sperm in the animal kingdom, some having sperm that measure as long as two inches! (!), delivered to the female in tightly wound bunches. By comparison, the human sperm is microscopic, measuring only tenths of milimeters across.

Image of a male drosophila melanogaster courtesy Max Westby, used with permission under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.

  1. drosophiladiaries reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  2. courtney-is-too-sexy-for-chu reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  3. doctor-segmentium reblogged this from greatmindsofscience
  4. secular-science reblogged this from greatmindsofscience
  5. postmortemdecay666 reblogged this from greatmindsofscience
  6. davidthedestroyer reblogged this from greatmindsofscience
  7. greatmindsofscience reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  8. bazookakitty reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  9. almost-rabid reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  10. proudoflion reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  11. 8100dy43d534 reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  12. jussstinn reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  13. callmelogic reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  14. sonofahitch reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  15. proseandpassion reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  16. topazwoods reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  17. gangzofdundee reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  18. lostomnibus reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  19. scienceyoucanlove reblogged this from molecularlifesciences and added:
    I love these guys! I never kill them (or any bug) when I find them in my home :)
  20. molecularlifesciences reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  21. saheriouslyyy reblogged this from kidsneedscience
  22. mya-of-clementplace reblogged this from kidsneedscience