Clinal variation in Drosophila serrata for stress resistance and body size

Genet Res. 2002 Apr;79(2):141-8. doi: 10.1017/s0016672301005523.


Clines for size and stress resistance traits have been described for several Drosophila species and replicable clines across different species may indicate climatic selection. Here we consider clines in stress resistance traits in an Australian endemic species, D. serrata, by comparing levels of variation within and among isofemale lines initiated with flies collected from the eastern coast of Australia. We also consider clinical variation in chill coma recovery, a trait that has recently been shown to exhibit high levels of variation among Drosophila species. Patterns were compared with those in the cosmopolitan species D. melanogaster from the same area. Both desiccation and starvation resistance showed no clinical pattern despite heritable variation among isofemale lines. In contrast chill coma resistance exhibited a linear cline in the anticipated direction, resistance increasing with latitude. Body size was measured as wing length and body weight. Both traits showed geographic variation and strong non-linear clines with a sharp reduction in size in the tropics. These results are discussed in the context of climatic selection and evolutionary processes limiting species borders.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Australia
  • Body Constitution / physiology
  • Cold Temperature
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Dehydration / genetics
  • Dehydration / metabolism
  • Demography
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genetics, Population
  • Male
  • Starvation / genetics
  • Starvation / metabolism
  • Wings, Animal / cytology