back to article Bloke fruit flies enjoy ejaculating, turn to booze when starved of sexy times

A new study reveals that male fruit flies enjoy the sensation of ejaculation, and are more likely to turn to alcohol when sexually frustrated. Sound familiar? The research published in Current Biology on Thursday is, apparently, the first to prove the rewarding nature of orgasms among insects and mammals. “Successful mating …

  1. malle-herbert Silver badge

    I thought...

    Fruit flies like a banana...

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: I thought...

      This article suggests it's yeast:

      Much confusion in the boffin land obviously as to why.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: I thought...

      Fruit flies like a banana...

      But time flies like an arrow.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: I thought...

        and bananas like a boomerang.

    3. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: I thought...

      Fruit flies like a banana daiquiri.

      [True story. I left a banana out in my flat and never returned until it had rotted, and when I did return the flat was full of tens of thousands of fruit flies. For a night and a day I tried to swat them but they are basically unswattable, so in frustration I poured myself a whisky but then they started dive-bombing my glass so I fled. I returned a few days later and they'd all drowned themselves in my whisky.

      So my take on that is fruit flies with easy access to sex still drown themselves in booze when it's available, even the females]

      1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

        Re: I thought...

        It's not like fruit flies have a long life span, so might as well go out in one big, booze driven, fruit-fly orgy.

  2. Chris King Silver badge

    So how did the scientists work out the alcohol thing ?

    Did they build the flies a little singles bar or something ?

  3. Korev Silver badge


    There's a fly mutant with enhanced sensitivity to ethanol called.... cheapdate.

  4. dnicholas Bronze badge

    Can I sign up to the human equivalent of this experiment please?

    1. Oengus

      With my luck I would be in the control group that gets neither the orgasm nor the alcohol...

  5. handleoclast

    So where can I get some neuropeptide F

    The principles by which the brain processes reward are extremely conserved in all animals; this is a really basic every day machinery that helps animals survive.

    Sounds like it would be fun.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: So where can I get some neuropeptide F

      You do not. The human equivalents are internally generated when your dopamine levels go up.

      As we all know now it is not a good idea to keep them constantly propped up. It does not end well.

  6. Tromos

    I hear the fruit fly police are planning a raid on the red-light district.

  7. Jay Lenovo Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    The Human Fly

    Hangs out in the "Red Light" district,..gettin some of that Neuropeptide F (whatever the "F" stands for)

    ..kinda like the Horse Fly, but the effect is much longer.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: The Human Fly

      I think there were similar references in a song performed by Billy Ocean.

      I can't stop running to you,

      Feel love coming through you

      Girl, with you beside me,

      Hold on heaven guide me

      Red light spells danger,

      Can't hold out much longer

      'Cause red light means warning,

      Can't hold out I'm burning

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: The Human Fly

      ..kinda like the Horse Fly, but the effect is much longer.

      No doubt, there is a term used within the Fly community of being "Hung like a Horse Fly"

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: The Human Fly

        Spanish fly...

  8. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Coming soon: Fruit-fly p 0 rn.

    Wait ... somebody wasted precious funding to WATCH fruit flies jerk off? Fuck off!

    1. TRT Silver badge

      I recall a whole lecture about the neural mechanisms of ejaculation in mammals, including a number of experiments involving canine spinal sectioning. When it got to the questions part, someone near me put their hand up and asked, "So exactly how does one write a grant application asking for the money to spend five years wanking off dogs?"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It must happen...

        ...someone I knew at University wanked of sheep for his thesis. I think it was for his thesis.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: It must happen...

          University of Aberystwyth was it?

  9. TDog

    Either good research or bad reporting

    "Shohat-Ophir said the behaviour can be explained by evolution.".

    It bloody well can't. Evolution doesn't explain anything. All you can say is:

    "I haven't got a bloody clue how this happened - it might or might not be the optimal solution - but we didn't even know what problem was trying to be solved until this gave us the answer'. And then we analysed it retrospectively." Which is descriptive, not causality.


    It is simply a post hoc description of what has happened so far. Even whilst it is happening another conspiracy of genetics is attempting to do lots of things, Some of them may be better and fail for [insert your preferred reason here]. Others may be worse - and fail for [insert your preferred reason here]. That's fine - it is one of the most important concepts of the 19th century. I think it is massive in the implications. BUT - it is abused, described as a serial process retrospectively and misunderstood. Cue just about every casual science reporter.

    And it doesn't really matter; evolution gives you what you get - not an computationally correct, verifiable through diverse methods and algorithms proof.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Either good research or bad reporting

      Methiniks you need a beer or a roll in the hay... Maybe it is evolutionary.. the ones that survive and breed have this need for the mental stimulation.

    2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: Either good research or bad reporting

      Lysenko? Is that you? ....or just a Southern Baptist...?

      1. TDog

        Re: Either good research or bad reporting

        Neither - as I said in the post I thought it was one of the most important discoveries of the 19th century. But it doesn't explain anything. It describes a process by which things happen. But you can't make the Popperian nullifiable hypothesis that a single specific event will occur by "evolution". All that you can do is observe trends in genetics through probability. A simple example would be the enzyme which has been discovered that degrades PET. By accident, when making it a change improved its functionality. Great - we need it. But there is no reason to suppose whatever that this would have been forced to occur by "evolution".

        That is the point that I was (obviously ineffectively) trying to make. Evolution is not deterministic, it is stochastic and as such cannot explain anything, merely describe a route that was taken to get to a particular position.

        1. PeteA

          Re: Either good research or bad reporting

          Don't ... feed ... don't ... feed ... ah sod it, I can't help it

          But there is no reason to suppose whatever that this would have been forced to occur by "evolution".

          There's every reason. Why do you think they looked where they did [a PET bottle dump] for "PET-eating bacteria"? In other words, they formulated the hypothesis that bacteria might evolve which could digest PET, then they proved the hypothesis, and then they started studying the discovery. It's evolution being predicted and exploited. Consider reading the abstract of A bacterium that degrades and assimilates poly(ethylene terephthalate).

          1. TDog

            Re: Either good research or bad reporting

            Don't ... read ... don't ... read ... ah sod it, I can't read it

            "By accident, when making it a change improved its functionality." i.e. the enzyme was altered. Not by evolution but by the researchers. It was that change that was not evolutionary. There is no reason to assume that would have occurred through an evolutionary process. If you must insist on me being a troll at least read the correct article first <g>.


    3. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: Either good research or bad reporting


      Quite a lot is explained by evolution.

  10. PhilipN Silver badge

    Fruit flies and sex education

    To save parents the embarrassment of teaching their children about "it" (S - E - X) in the early '60's there was a booklet available* using fruit flies as the exemplar. Written by some totally po-faced medic - or maybe he was an entomologist. If in early puberty "it" was a confusing topic there is no way this immensely misguided booklet would have helped. Worse than what Stevie said behind the bike shed. H&E magazines did not help either.

    *My Mum gave the booklet to me with an expressionless face and merely a "Read this. And don't take it to school". I am not sure why she bothered.

  11. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Remember the talk parents give to their kids? Birds and the bees? It's going to be "birds and the fruitfly -- the x-rated version".

    1. TRT Silver badge

      The birds and the fruit flies?

      But you forget... Bees do it.

      Even educated fleas do it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Remember the talk parents give to their kids? Birds and the bees?

      The common version is "Son, your mom asked me to tell you that the birds and bees do it too you know".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      but.. Think of the larvae!

  12. SVV Silver badge

    Clearly the science is wrong here

    You need to get the flies thorougly pissed FIRST, then I think you will find that there will be lots more sex. A fruit fly nightclub where horny fruit flies can meet other similarly horny fruit flies, serving a delicious range of alcoholic drinks will help to facilitate the action to be observed by the scientists. Then you can experimentally confirm that more fruit flies will desire sex after the alcohol, and lots will be had, instead of concluding that alcohol is an acceptable substitute in itself, just like humans who fail to cop off tend to.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: A fruit fly nightclub

      The Black Banana. It's down off Brighton Levels.

  13. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    As always...

    ...the Conclusions end with "Further Research is needed..."

    1. Tromos

      Re: As always...

      Or, more precisely...

      "Further research funding is needed..."

  14. Celeste Reinard

    When he comes...

    When the master sings, does the missus gasp in awe and wonder as well, is what I wonder as well about, or just takes it in as one point ticked of the menu, and on to the next? (Or is it that the boffins still need to pick the lady's brain at a later point in time to see what she thinks about the rigmarole?)

  15. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

    Hit me with your rhythm stick

    Two fat fruit flies

    click, click, click

    mines the one with the "Kilburn and the High Roads" badge ======>

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hang around the scent that reminded them of orgasms

    Finally, a scientific reason for the sock under my pillow.

  17. cb7

    Drug addicts

    That's it. Just give em sex to wean them off drugs.

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Drug addicts

      According to a documentary about Edinburgh heroin addicts who enjoy watching trains that I once saw, drug addiction can itself destroy libido.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about the Tantric fruit flies?

    Like Sting... no ejaculation for hours or days. Or is that wasps?

  19. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Whereas when I'm feeling sexually frustrated, I shamelessly troll for upvotes.

    Okay, upvotes don't produce quite the same hit of endorphins, but there's less vomit and no legal proceeding stripping me of my driving licence.

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