In biology, model organisms are the workhorse species in which most biological science gets done: fruit flies (D. melanogaster), house mice (M. musculus), shale cress (A. thaliana), zebra fish (D. rerio), nematodes (C. elegans), yeast (S. cerevisiae), and bacteria (E. coli.) They are science's heavy hitters... in the lab. But most scientists know almost nothing about how these species behave in the wild, outside of the context of humans. ELife's new series on the natural history of model species aims to change that. So far, they have published on the natural history of zebra fish, E. coli, and nematodes, with more to follow.
Sexual Deprivation Increases Alcohol Intake in Drosophila (the original paper, and a précis, are both behind paywalls; the précis notes "anthropomorphizing the results from flies is difficult to suppress, but the relevance to human behavior is obviously not yet established")
A recent paper* documents a previously undocumented strategy, fraught with human psychological parallels, of a potentially adaptive mechanism against parasitism: self-medication via alcohol intoxication. [more inside]
You may not recognize the difference between Sophophora melanogaster and the common fruit fly. That's because there isn't. The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature is proposing a name change from Drosophila melanogaster on scientific grounds, but it's ruffling the antennae of some scientists.