CR 43:71-79 (2010)  -  DOI:

Thermal plasticity of wing size and shape in Drosophila melanogaster, D. simulans and their hybrids

V. Trotta1,*, C. Pertoldi2,3, A. Rudoy1, T. Manenti1, S. Cavicchi1, D. Guerra1

1Alma Mater Studiorum, Università di Bologna, Dipartimento di Biologia Evoluzionistica Sperimentale, Via Selmi 3,
40126 Bologna, Italy
2Department of Biological Sciences, Ecology and Genetics, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade, Building 1540,
8000 Århus C, Denmark
3Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Waszkiewicza 1c, 17-230 Bialowieża, Poland

ABSTRACT: Populations of Drosophila melanogaster, as well as of other Drosophila species, show body size differences according to their geographic origin. Thermal selection is considered to be the most likely cause explaining these differences. We investigated wing size, wing shape and their relationship in 3 different geographic populations of D. melanogaster, 1 population of D. simulans, and their interspecific hybrids grown at 18, 21, 25 and 28°C. The aim was to explore how the past adaptive history of 2 related species, or populations of the same species, modulates the plastic response to the environment. The wing size plasticity of hybrids between the temperate D. simulans (Bologna) and the 2 tropical D. melanogaster populations (Belém and Rio de Janeiro) was higher than that of parental species, probably as a side effect of a decanalized and compromised development at higher temperatures. The wing size plasticity of Bologna hybrids was the same as the parents, suggesting that the 2 species are subjected to the same plasticity selection. Wing shape was typical of each species, population and temperature. Shape differences increased in hybrids at higher temperatures as a consequence of developmental perturbation. The allometric relationship between size and shape changed among temperatures and among species, suggesting that the wing development is differently regulated in the 2 species and can be altered by natural selection. The allometry changed between populations of different geographic origin of D. melanogaster, but was similar in the 2 species that shared the same selective environment. Two species would have been subjected to the same plasticity selection, so the breakdown of the plastic response is avoided in hybrids. As a whole, these data suggest that thermal plasticity is a trait under selection and that similar mechanisms are at work in different species.

KEY WORDS: Drosophila · Hybrids · Development · Evolutionary constraints · Phenotypic plasticity

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Cite this article as: Trotta V, Pertoldi C, Rudoy A, Manenti T, Cavicchi S, Guerra D (2010) Thermal plasticity of wing size and shape in Drosophila melanogaster, D. simulans and their hybrids. Clim Res 43:71-79.

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