Clines in cuticular hydrocarbons in two Drosophila species with independent population histories

Evolution. 2010 Jun;64(6):1784-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2009.00936.x. Epub 2009 Dec 28.


We took a comparative approach utilizing clines to investigate the extent to which natural selection may have shaped population divergence in cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) that are also under sexual selection in Drosophila. We detected the presence of CHC clines along a latitudinal gradient on the east coast of Australia in two fly species with independent phylogenetic and population histories, suggesting adaptation to shared abiotic factors. For both species, significant associations were detected between clinal variation in CHCs and temperature variation along the gradient, suggesting temperature maxima as a candidate abiotic factor shaping CHC variation among populations. However, rainfall and humidity correlated with CHC variation to differing extents in the two species, suggesting that response to these abiotic factors may vary in a species-specific manner. Our results suggest that natural selection, in addition to sexual selection, plays a significant role in structuring among-population variation in sexually selected traits in Drosophila.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Australia
  • Climate
  • Drosophila / chemistry
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Female
  • Geography
  • Hydrocarbons / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Selection, Genetic*
  • Sex Attractants / chemistry
  • Sex Attractants / genetics*
  • Species Specificity


  • Hydrocarbons
  • Sex Attractants