Fruit Flies: Reproduction, Gestation & Breeding Cycle

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

The fruit fly is a harmless little fly that we usually find buzzing around our produce. In this lesson we will cover the reproduction, gestation and breeding cycle of the fruit fly.

The Fruit Fly

Fruit flies or Drosophila melanogaster are tiny in size (3 to 4 mm) and are yellowish-brown in color. The females are larger than the males. The males posses sex combs and a dark hind. They're found on every continent except the southern polar region. They cannot survive in extreme climates. The ideal breeding climate is cool to warm and humid. Basically the only way to get away from them is to move to Antarctica or very hot and dry deserts. They weren't always found everywhere in the world. They have been introduced to many new habitats (including urban ones).

Drosophila melanogaster aka The Fruit Fly

Mating is Step 1 to Reproduction

The fruit fly is capable of rapid reproduction. Hundreds of flies can be born to a single pair. The male and female both reach sexual maturity within 1 week after metamorphosis. The males seem to have sex combs on their legs, and while they are assumed to be linked to mating, it doesn't effect them when removed. The flies court at feeding grounds which are mainly fruit. The male taps the female with his front legs, follows her around, vibrates his wings and makes noises. If a female chooses to reject a male, she will kick, thrust her ovipositor or just leave. If she chooses to mate, she will calm down and exhibit receptive behaviors and open her vaginal plate. After mating successfully, females will reject males to mate again temporarily. This helps increase the rate at which they can lay their eggs.


The fruit fly can live up to 10 weeks. The female can continue laying eggs throughout her lifetime. Fertilization takes place internally. The female can store sperm in a seminal receptacle (tubes leading to their uterus) or the spermatheca (a pair of mushroom shaped chambers connected to the uterus to store sperm).

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