Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fruit Flies Sing Love Songs

Tropical beauty has inspired many Hawaiian love songs. However, none is more unusual than the love song of Hawaiian fruit flies.

There are more than 100 species of Hawaiian Drosophila, or fruit fly. Just like everything else in that tropical paradise, these fruit flies are not the drab creatures known in mainland biology labs.

Hawaiian fruit flies are larger and more brightly colored. And while mainland fruit flies do sing, Hawaiian fruit flies offer more variety in their songs and in the way they make the sounds. One of their unique songs is called the click song. Its high-pitched clicks sound something like a fingernail being dragged across a comb. Another song is made up of a complex pattern that includes pulses and trills. A third song pattern is a steady purr. A fourth pattern is made up of a low hum. Scientists describe the singing patterns as elaborate for a fly.

Scientists suspect that the fruit flies use singing as part of their mating ritual. In one encounter, a male stood behind a female with his head under her wing. He then hummed until she either accepted his advance or flew off. It may be, scientists speculate, that the female feels the male's song rather than hears it. Songs and rituals seem to vary between the species.

Scripture tells us that everything in the creation sings praise to our Creator. Often that truth is taken as figurative. However, as we learn more about His creatures, we see that the complexity of music is a gift that has been given to many things in the creation.

Reference: Edwards, D.D. 1990. Unique island love songs attract flies. Science News, v. 133. p. 244.
Source: Creation Moments.

No comments: