Life-history traits and physiological limits of the alpine fly Drosophila nigrosparsa (Diptera: Drosophilidae): A comparative study

Ecol Evol. 2018 Jan 17;8(4):2006-2020. doi: 10.1002/ece3.3810. eCollection 2018 Feb.


Interspecific variation in life-history traits and physiological limits can be linked to the environmental conditions species experience, including climatic conditions. As alpine environments are particularly vulnerable under climate change, we focus on the montane-alpine fly Drosophila nigrosparsa. Here, we characterized some of its life-history traits and physiological limits and compared these with those of other drosophilids, namely Drosophila hydei, Drosophila melanogaster, and Drosophila obscura. We assayed oviposition rate, longevity, productivity, development time, larval competitiveness, starvation resistance, and heat and cold tolerance. Compared with the other species assayed, D. nigrosparsa is less fecund, relatively long-living, starvation susceptible, cold adapted, and surprisingly well heat adapted. These life-history characteristics provide insights into invertebrate adaptations to alpine conditions which may evolve under ongoing climate change.

Keywords: Alpine species; Drosophila; laboratory experiments; life‐history traits; physiological limits.