Fruit Fly Eye Color

The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster possesses disproportionately large, often vividly colored eyes. These range in color from red to sepia to white and indicate a great deal about the fly's genetic makeup. Some fruit flies bred in the wild have red eyes. Brown and sepia eyes are a result of a recessive gene and only occur when two sepia-eyed flies mate. White, vermillion and cinnabar-eyed fruit flies result from mutations and are far less common.

close up of fruit fly feeding

Because fruit flies are genetically simple insects and have rapid life cycles, they are ideal subjects for biological study. Particularly in genetic experiments, fruit flies provide researchers with extremely useful information. Fruit fly phenotypes manifest prominently, resulting in red-, sepia- and white-eyed flies. In rare cases, eyeless flies are produced through genetic experimentation. Other genetic mutations are obvious in male-female ratios and wing shape.

While white-eyed fruit flies are genetic anomalies, they are relatively common in science classrooms and laboratories. The white-eyed fruit fly gene is recessive and typically is eliminated after mating with dominant-eyed fruit flies for two generations. White eyed fruit flies that mate with other white-eyed fruit flies will produce white-eyed offspring.