Drosophila americana Lines
Bryant McAllister Research Interests Publications Fly Stocks Sequences


We have a number of different fly lines in laboratory culture. These are freely available to the research community. Some of our commonly used strains are subcultures of stocks maintained by the Tucson Drosophila Species Stock Center, and these stocks should be requested from that source. Several mutant strains of Drosophila americana have been identified in our lab and we maintain these stocks. However, most of the flies in culture in our laboratory are iso-female lines derived from collections of wild populations. Stocks of D. americana are easy to maintain on standard cornmeal or banana medium at 18-22 degrees Celsius with long photoperiods (15h light, 9h dark).


Mutant Lines

For a complete description of virilis-group mutants, see Alexander, 1976, pp 1365-1472, in The Genetics and Biology of Drosophila, Vol. 1c, Ashburner and Novitski, eds., Academic Press.


ID Original Line Description
V46 15010-1051.46

Stock Center line of D. virilis with each autosome marked with mutations. Genotype: b(2), gp-L2(3), cd(4), pe(5)

cd hybrid Derived through introgression of the cardinal allele (4) from V46 into D. americana.
Red-6 15010-0951.6 Spontaneous autosomal red eye mutant (complements Red-4), w/ X-4 fusion and In(4)ab. Possibly an allele of cinnabar (3) or scarlet (5).
Red-4 NN97.4 Spontaneous autosomal red eye mutant (complements Red-6), w/ X-4 fusion and In(4)ab. Possibly an allele of cinnabar (3) or scarlet (5).
Pur ML97.5 Spontaneous autosomal purple eye mutant, w/ unfused X chromosomes and standard 4th chromosome arrangement. Possibly an allele of dahlia (3), or eosinoid (5).
cu NN97.9 Spontaneous autosomal wing mutant, w/ fused X-4 chromosomes and In(4)ab. Likely an allele of curved (4). The mutant allele is on the X-4 fusion chromosome, and the unfused 4th chromosome in males has the wild-type allele, so females are homozygous mutant and males are heterozygous wild type.


Iso-female Lines

For each locality, the frequency of the X-4 fusion chromosome in the sample is indicated as the portion of the circle that is filled and the the frequency of unfused X chromosomes is indicated by the unfilled portion. Click on the sites to get information on the number of chromosomes analyzed, the exact locality data, and the availability of iso-female lines.

Collecting Drosophila americana (by Bryant McAllister)

See: Google Maps overview of collecting sites.


 Drosophila americana occurs throughout the US, east of the Rocky Mountains. This species is restricted to riparian habitats, occurring along the margins of marshes, lakes, and rivers. A previous study (Blight and Romano, 1953, American Naturalist, 87:111) reported that the larvae of this species feed on the sandbar willow (Salix exigua, = S. interior). I have been unable to find larvae, even though I have looked for them in areas where adult flies were collected, so I have been unable to verify their observation. However, I have been successful collecting flies in the Midwest and Great Plains only along water margins in areas with a high density of sandbar or black (S. nigra) willow. Sandbar willow is fairly rare in the southern US. In the south, I have been successful collecting D. americana in areas with a high density of black willow.

I obtain flies by collecting from baits placed in the appropriate habitat. Plastic disposable cups are hung from tree limbs, and the cups are baited with about a tablespoon of mashed bananas that have been fermented with baker's yeast for several days. In the mornings and evenings, flies are attracted to the cups and will accumulate on the bait. I walk along my trail of baits and quickly thrust each cup into the open end of a mailing tube that has nylon mesh covering the other end. The flies are attracted to light and fly to the mesh-covered end of the mailing tube. I cap the open end and move to the next cup. When I complete collecting from all of the cups in a line, I anesthetize the flies with carbon dioxide and sort them. Generally, D. americana are a very small subset of the flies (including drosophilids) that are collected. They can be identified by the divergent anterior scutelar bristles, clouded crossveins of the wings, and solid dark-gray coloration on the dorsal surface of the abdomen. In order to obtain 50-100 individuals of D. americana, I generally collect 2-3 days at a locality.



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©2008 BF McAllister Iowa FLYowa Biology Genetics CCG McAllister Lab