Sorry to disappoint guys, but this currently only apply to flies; imagine if all it took to spruce things up a bit was a daily Yakult… Perhaps they wouldn’t have to spend so much on advertising…
Anyway, you’ve probably never wondered how to make a fly sexy but some researchers in Jerusalem have discovered that good old microflora improves sexual performance in fruit flies. Don’t worry there is actually, believe it or not, a practical application for this knowledge.
Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) is an established method of controlling pest insect populations. It involves raising millions of sterile male insects in a lab and releasing them into the environment. In theory this works because they compete with the wild, fertile males for the ladies. However, it turns out that when it came to Mediterranean Fruit-fly populations, the sterile males just weren’t cutting it.
This recently published study found that the sterilisation process disrupted the natural bacteria in the flies’ guts and consequently, by restoring the original composition via a special diet of bacteria, they could improve their sexual success. It has now become clear that insects have complex relationships with bacteria which influences a range of aspects of their lives; they can help protect against disease, enhance social interactions and even help them live longer. It remains a mystery exactly how these bacteria help attract a mate; there’s still plenty of room for speculation.
Turns out those good bacteria are important in more than one respect… if you’re a fly, that is.