Identifying the origin of the fly

Mar 23, 2011
Identifying the origin of the fly
The Blowfly: Flies originated in wet environments and as they evolved they adapted to feed in almost any nutrient-rich substrate, becoming adapted to almost any environment on earth. (David McClenaghan, CSIRO)

(PhysOrg.com) -- Some may think that the mosquito and the house fly are worlds apart when it comes to common ancestry but new research published this week by an international team of scientists puts them much closer together in evolutionary history.

According to a paper published in the of the USA, the mosquito branched off the same evolutionary tree as the house fly around 220 million years ago.

Though just a few species of flies gain public attention as pests – namely: house flies, March flies and – there are 152,000 named species of flies, representing around 10 per cent of all species on Earth.

The March fly branched off some 175 million years ago, while the common house fly branched off about 50 million years ago.

Flies originated in wet environments and as they evolved they adapted to feed in almost any nutrient-rich substrate in almost any environment on earth.

“What this research shows us is that the Fly Tree of Life went through three periods of fast diversification, with many different groups experimenting with ways to be a fly,” says one of the paper’s co-authors, Dr David Yeates from CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences.

“The mosquito, March fly and common house fly are everyday members of these bursts of evolution, which occurred during unstable periods of Earth’s history when dramatic environmental change created new habitats for these ‘experimental’ flies. 

“The really interesting thing is that living representatives of these early branching groups, such as mosquitoes and March flies, are still with us.

“This research provides an evolutionary framework for future comparative work on species that are critically important to both society and science,” Dr Yeates said.

The research was conducted by an international consortium of 27 scientists from six countries.

Explore further: Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

Related Stories

Researchers map 'fly tree of life'

Mar 14, 2011

Calling it the "new periodic table for flies," researchers at North Carolina State University and collaborators across the globe have mapped the evolutionary history of flies, providing a framework for further comparative ...

Flies are given federal protection

May 11, 2006

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has extended federal protection to 12 species of Hawaiian picture-wing flies under the Endangered Species Act.

At home on a crab, with new evolutionary neighbors

Apr 09, 2008

The members of Drosophilidae, a family consisting of about 3000 species, are often referred to as fruit flies although most of the members feed on microbes. As microbes can be found growing on a wide range ...

Humans, flies smell alike, neurobiologists find

Mar 26, 2007

The nose knows – whether it’s on a fruit fly or a human. And while it would seem that how a fruit fly judges odors should differ from how a human smells, new research from Rockefeller University finds that at the neurobiological ...

Recommended for you

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

15 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher

Apr 17, 2014

One day about eight years ago, Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, and her father were on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama when they stumbled ...

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises

Apr 17, 2014

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but re ...

Fear of the cuckoo mafia

Apr 17, 2014

If a restaurant owner fails to pay the protection money demanded of him, he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like these are seldom required, however, as fear of the consequences is enough to ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...