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January 31 2013

Flies give up meat for toxic vegetarian diet


U. ARIZONA (US) Microbe-eating flies from all over the world have recently evolved to eat some of the most toxic plants on Earth instead.

For millennia, they buzzed through the woods, contentedly munching yeasts off the surfaces of leaves, bracken, and rotting duff on the forest floor.

But now, flies in the family Drosophilidae, whose disparate members dwell in areas all across the planet, have evolved into all-out vegetarians with a wicked diet of plants that are deadly to most other organisms.

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