Numerous laboratory investigations have compared Drosophila melanogaster and D. simulans for various life history traits and fitness related ecophysiological parameters. From presently available information, it is however difficult to get a general comparative pattern describing the divergence of their ecological niches and understanding their demographic success. Two environmental factors seem however to have played a major role: temperature and alcoholic resources. From an ecophysiological approach, D. simulans may be described as generally more sensitive to stresses; other results point to this species as more cold adapted than its sibling; in some cases, however, D. simulans may appear as better adapted to a warm environment. When investigated, ecophysiological traits show a lesser geographic variability in D. simulans than in D. melanogaster. Presently available information does not explain the ecological prevalence of D. simulans in many places with a mild temperate or subtropical climate. This is presumably due to the fact that most comparisons have been done at a single, standard temperature of 25 degrees C. Comparative studies should be undertaken, spanning the thermal ranges of the two species, and the phenotypic plasticity of ecophysiological traits should now be considered.