Is this a fruit fly? [Pictures]

Quick back story: I keep a bearded dragon and for his food I also keep live crickets… I found about four of these flying insects in the cricket tub so I smashed one and took some photos of it. I compared it to some pictures I found online of fruit flies and it looks pretty similar, but I’m far from being an entomologist. What do you all think?

Picture 1: http://img207.imageshack.us/my.php?image=insect1sg0.jpg
Picture 2: http://img207.imageshack.us/my.php?image=insect2jo1.jpg

Sorry for the poor quality, but my tiny compact Nikon camera was not built for macro. :slight_smile:

If they are fruit flies, could they become a significant problem to the crickets or a health problem if later accidentally ingested by my bearded dragon? Any easy ways to get rid of them without using anything harsh to negatively impact the crickets (and ultimately my lizard)?

IANA entomologist, either, but I’ve smashed plenty of fruit flies in my kitchen (and other places around the house :mad: ), and yeah, looks like a fruit fly to me. Size of a pencil lead, goofy look on its face, no brains at all, zooms around in small, random circles going “What? What?” when you disturb it–yep, that’s it.

I understand that reptile owners have a word for fruit flies: “Snack”. :smiley:

IOW, no, there’s no danger to your beastie from the bugs. If he can catch one, it’s just more protein. The biggest danger is that they’ll breed in the cricket tub and out-compete your crickets for their food (that’s what they’re eating, BTW, as well as any other organic material they happen upon), and your crickets’ breeding rate will drop.

No to mention moving on from the cricket tub to the rest of your house, “new worlds to conquer” and all that…

“An easy way to get rid of them”? Yeah, get rid of the cricket tub. “An easy way to get rid of them without negatively impacting the crickets”? No.

The only way to get rid of fruit flies without nuking your house and moving to a new city is total, absolute, 100% cleanliness. They will eat, and will breed on, and in, anything organic–wet dishrags, the sink drain, a dirty spoon left on the kitchen counter for more than a day. You have to keep after them. You’ll have to keep the cricket tub scrupulously clean, and squash any flies you see, every chance you get. If it was me, I’d get a duplicate cricket tub, and move the crickets back and forth from Tub A to Tub B (freshly scrubbed) every morning.

Survivors from the cricket tub purge will migrate to other places in your house, so you must be vigilant. And after about a week or two of ruthlessly squashing any and all survivors, you’ll be bug-free.

Good luck with it. I think fruit fly threads comprise about 25% of all General Questions threads. :smiley:

Looks like a fruit fly to me.

Can’t imagine why they’d be a major problem - more a decent little added source of protein. I’ve known folks that kept fruit fly populations specifically to feed pets, as with the notable example of a clouded salamander ( notable because it is the only salamander I’ve actually seen leap for its food ).

But their presense does indicate that you might want to clean up your cricket colony a bit.

Transfer your crickets temporarily to a new holding area and clean the heck out of their enclosure, eliminating any rotting fruit and such in the process. Should be simple as that.

I feed fruit flies to some of my birds. I buy a tub of flightless (they have wings but cannot fly) fruit flies and keep a culture going. Through some process, my last culture reverted to fully flighted fruit flies and things were a mess. Fly paper and patience eventually got everything under control.

The hand of God, perhaps, who was upset with your casual slaughter, and decided to teach you a lesson with a PLAGUE OF FRUIT FLIES!

OMFG! You are likely right. And here I was blaming Mendel. :wink:

I think I will disagree with the above. Most fruit flies, that is flies within the Drosophila family, have red eyes. Certainly all the ones that I have worked with (melanogaster, pseudoobscura, subobscura, simulans, virilis, willistoni) have red eyes and that represents around 65 million years of evolution. That said, the family is massive and the aforementioned fly is the right size and shape to be a fruit fly.

Looking at the plates here and the pictures here seems to confirm that they have red eyes. That said, some have kind of dark eyes and we may just be at a weird angle or bad lighting.

After a bit of looking (and remembering that we once had an infestation of Drosophila sized black-eyed flies in the lab) my guess would be the humpacked fly (also known as a scuttle fly or a coffin fly as they tend to infest fresh graves – the whole thing about maggot-covered corpses, well these are perhaps the maggots). GIS for humpbacked fly produces this picture which I think is pretty close:

http://www.biosurvey.ou.edu/okwild/misc/megscal.html

BTW, these things are gross compared to fruit flies. We had an infestation in our media kitchen and about 2 weeks later, these incredible ugly, aggressive maggots started popping up out of the food. The adults are also a lot harder to squish and catch – they are called scuttle flies because they move in short bursts. A nice thread from a newsgroup:
http://www.bio.net/bionet/mm/dros/1998-August/004136.html

Ask it if it likes a banana.

They are also known as vinegar flies, and here is a handy-dandy Extension fact sheet I came across that has directions for making a trap.

Given where they congregate in my house, I believe I have wino flies.

You’ll probably need one of these, then.

Of course, if it likes an arrow…

Just to clear up what these two guys are dancing around, in case you didn’t realise it, they are referring to a famous** Groucho Marx ** quote:

Like a banana, it has a couple good layers of funny.