Humans Aren’t The Only Species Who Get Hangry


Humans Aren't The Only Species Who Get HangryKool Shooters/Moose/Pexels

It turns out humans aren’t the only animal that gets hangry – it’s a trait shared with fruit flies.

We’ve all let our hunger get the best of us and acted a bit grumpier than we would be normally.


Researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the University of Oxford have now found that this feeling is shared in other animals. More specifically, male fruit flies have been found to display more aggressive behaviour when they are hungry.

fruit fly (PA Images)PA Images

In the experiment, researchers observed how male fruit flies interacted when they were hungry. To do this, the researchers placed flies with different amounts of fruit inside vials and recorded how many lunges and fights occurred.

The flies that could not access food were found to display more aggressive behaviour at a greater frequency.


Dr Jen Perry, the senior author of the study, of UEA’s School of Biological Sciences, explained:

We found that hungry male fruit flies display more hostility toward each other.

They’re more likely to aggressively lunge at each other and to swat at each other with their legs (‘fencing’ behaviour), and they spend more time defending food patches.

The hungrier they get, the more combativeness they display. In other words, just like humans, fruit flies get ‘hangry’.

fruit fly flower (PA Images)Daniel Richardson

The study has suggested that the flies experience a ‘desperado’ effect where they begin to fight if they are more likely to lose the battle. This could be linked to a need to be productive when fighting for survival.


Fortunately, the fruit flies didn’t battle too fiercely in this research, and all of them survived.

The full findings have been published in the academic journal Animal Behaviour.

Featured Image Credit: Kool Shooters/Moose/Pexels

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Topics: Animals, Animal, Food, Now, Science


Animal Behaviour
  1. Animal Behaviour

    ‘Hangry’ Drosophila: food deprivation increases male aggression

Daniel Richardson
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