The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies

Vinegar flies should normally try to avoid their sick conspecifics to prevent becoming infected themselves. Nevertheless, as researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology and Cornell University recently found out, they are irresistibly attracted to the smell given off by sick flies. A dramatic increase in the production of the sex pheromones responsible for the attractive odor of the infected flies is caused by pathogens: this perfidious strategy is used by the deadly germs to enable them to infect healthy flies and spread even further (Nature Communications, August 16, 2017) (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)