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Variation in body size and life history traits in Drosophila aldrichi and D. buzzatii from a latitudinal cline in eastern Australia

Loeschcke, V.; Bundgaard, J.; Barker, J.S.

Heredity 85 Pt 5: 423-433

2000


ISSN/ISBN: 0018-067X
PMID: 11122420
DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2540.2000.00766.x
Accession: 003608645

Latitudinal variation in thorax and wing size traits was studied in wild-caught flies of the cactophilic Drosophila species, D. aldrichi and D. buzzatii, and their laboratory-reared progeny. The flies originated from five populations in Queensland, Australia, spanning an 800-km transect. The laboratory flies were reared at controlled densities and three temperatures, 20, 25, and 30 degrees C. We measured the same traits for the laboratory-reared flies as for the wild-caught flies, plus developmental time and viability. Latitudinal variation in wild-caught flies of both species followed a similar pattern for all linear size traits, with size generally increasing from north to south, but with flies from one intermediate locality markedly smaller. A drier environment at this locality and weather conditions immediately prior to collection, most likely explain the reduced size. Laboratory-reared D. aldrichi from this locality also were smaller than those from other localities, and had the fastest developmental time and highest viability. In laboratory-reared flies, body size traits did not show any clear trend to increase with latitude. The patterns of change with latitude were different between species, with D. aldrichi more similar in pattern to that of the natural populations. D. aldrichi had comparatively higher coefficients of variation in the laboratory-reared flies and lower viability at all temperatures. However, fluctuating asymmetry was lower in D. aldrichi in both wild-caught and laboratory-reared flies. The differences among populations of D. aldrichi for all traits were much larger than for D. buzzatii. As these differences in the laboratory-reared flies are expected to be largely genetic, they most likely reflect adaptation to specific (unknown) environmental factors that do not show linear latitudinal variation on the geographical scale studied.

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