In the movies: fighting flies and lobbing lobsters

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Sandra Porter

I read about this in Science and immediately had to check it out. Instant gratification on the internet is such a wonderful thing!

The Ed Kravitz lab has made movies of fights and even put them on the web for your viewing pleasure.

You can see the following fly fights that might suit your fancy:

Fighting flies

Or if you prefer battling sea life, you can watch the lobsters duke it out. Now I know why the lobsters in the grocery store tank always have rubber bands around their claws.

Lobbing Lobsters

I think, if I made the movies, I would have used different music, though, maybe "Gonna Fly Now" from the Rocky movies or "Ride of Valkryries."

And what about that mutation? The one that makes male flies fight like a girl?

Right. It's in a gene called fru (aka fruitless). Normally, the RNA transcript is spliced differently in males than it is in females. But if you mess with the gene a bit, you can make males who produce the female version of the mRNA, and protein. Those males don't court and they fight like girl flies. Apparently girl flies don't box, they just butt each other with their heads and shove a lot.

Those fruit fly biologists have too much fun! Can I put a bet on the red-eyed fly?