The courting of a fly
Most humans literate in English would quote a Shakespeare line at some point in their love-lives. Now those beautiful studies in miniature called Drosophila melanogaster, who provide me my daily bread, have no less an elaborate ritual of courtship, as they sing and dance and weather down their beloveds to consent to a union of hearts. Presenting the Fly Shakespeare:-
Male:- Shall I compare thee to a summer’s eve?
Thy brilliance is like a sun upon the firmament,
And thy portment most tubby!
Female: Hie! Thou yellow-bodied knave,
Get thee away from me.
Male:- Dismiss not my entreaties, bonnie lass,
Thine wings most curled, and most brilliant
Balanced are they in their beauty!
Female:- Look upon thyself, thou love-lorn fool!
Look upon the hazard tufts,
That peasantly stubble
That thou claimest to pass for bristles,
Ha! Wooest thou me with such gain?
And consider mine:
What perfect form, slender curved,
And tipt with gold!
Male:- Am I so blemish’d,
That my worth to thee is unkempt?
Gaze into my eyes, fair maiden,
Two whiten hemispheres
Pure in their love for thee!
Female:- Gadzooks! What cheek!
Thou base mutant, recessive weasel!
Who canst not bear even so much
As the redness of health,
Male:- Base I be, gentle lady,
Nor am I completely unworthy
to seek the favour
Of thy most dominant
barred glance upon mee,
and the rapture of your consent!
Canst thou, Noble reader, guess the cross?