The behavioral repertoire of Drosophila melanogaster in the presence of two predator species that differ in hunting mode Academic Article uri icon

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  • The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has proven to be an excellent model organism for genetic, genomic and neurobiological studies. However, relatively little is known about the natural history of D. melanogaster. In particular, neither the natural predators faced by wild populations of D. melanogaster, nor the anti-predatory behaviors they may employ to escape and avoid their enemies have been documented. Here we observe and describe the influence of two predators that differ in their mode of hunting: zebra jumping spiders, Salticus scenicus (active hunters) and Chinese praying mantids, Tenodera sinensis (ambush predators) on the behavioral repertoire of Drosophila melanogaster. We documented three particularly interesting behaviors: abdominal lifting, stopping, and retreat-which were performed at higher frequency by D. melanogaster in the presence of predators. While mantids had only a modest influence on the locomotory activity of D. melanogaster, we observed a significant increase in the overall activity of D. melanogaster in the presence of jumping spiders. Finally, we observed considerable among-individual behavioral variation in response to both predators.


  • Parigi, Abhijna
  • Porter, Cody
  • Cermak, Megan
  • Pitchers, William R
  • Dworkin, Ian

publication date

  • 2019