One major role of D. melanogaster in the ecosystem is that is an efficient vector for microorganisms, bacteria and fungi. Its role in the transmission of yeasts such as Saccharomyces cererisiae has been recognised for well over a century  and many hundreds of different fungal species have been isolated from the guts of wild drosophilids, many of these species in fact first being described from such a source. Drosophilids have been implicated as vectors of plant pathogenic fungi and of plant pathogenic bacteria. They are importance to viniculture, as vectors of yeasts.
Although a "typical" drosophilid has saprophagous larvae feeding on a fermenting substrate this is not true of all members of the family. In particular members of the more "primitive" Steganine subfamily do not utilize fermenting substrates, and many of the more "advanced" Drosophiline subfamily have transferred to non-fermenting substrates, such as fleshy fungi and living flowers. Some species have adapted to more bizarre habitats, for example breeding in the gills of land crabs, as aquatic predators, as kleptoparasites of solitary bees, or as predators of mealy bug or white fly larvae (see ).
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