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Why This Insect Has Sperm A Thousand Times Longer Than Human Sperm

May 27, 2016 07:25 AM EDT
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MANILA, Philippines - Nature indeed has a funny way of balancing the ecosystem. Did you know that the animal with the longest sperm is also among the animals with the shortest lifespan? Meet the tiny fruit fly.

Fruit fly (Drosophila bifurca) may just be few millimeters in size, but produces gargantuan sperm. According to Science Daily, fruit flies produce almost six centimeters or 2.3 inches long sperm, that's 23 times longer than its body and 1,100 times longer than the human sperm.

The sperm is coiled tightly, like a ball of yarn making it fit inside the fruit fly's body.

Sperm should be tiny and numerous, so how come these tiny insects have enormous sperms?

Normally, in the animal kingdom, more sperm means more chances of impregnating a female species, but that is not the case for fruit flies.

As explained in a recent study published in the journal Nature, the female fruit flies themselves are responsible for the sperm length.

Over time, the female fruit flies were able to develop larger receptacles, encouraging more competition as the females ravenously copulate with other males.

For fruit flies, having longer sperm is an effective blocker, which prevents any rivals from getting their seed planted as there as smaller sperms only get pushed out.

Another interesting fact about fruit flies is that they only live up to 50 days, in optimal temperature. Though they cannot live under extreme weather conditions, their ability to propagate fast makes up for it. Female fruit fly lays up to 100 eggs each day and they can produce up to 2000 eggs in a lifetime. It only takes up to four days until an adult fruit fly emerges from the larvae.

Below are other amazing facts about the species:

  1. Fruit fly has hairy body and sticky feet which facilitate transmission of bacteria that can be harmful for human health.
  2. Fruit flies beat their wings 220 times per second; they can make one sharp turn in just 50 milliseconds.
  3. Eyes of fruit fly consist of 760 individual lenses .
  4. Even though fruit fly has only 4 chromosomes, its genes are similar with human's genes, making them ideal for experiment when exploring human conditions.

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