Oecologia

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 323–329

Reproductive strategy in Drosophila melanogaster: Significance of a genetic divergence between temperate and tropical populations

  • J. Boulétreau-Merle
  • R. Allemand
  • Y. Cohet
  • J. R. David
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00389008

Cite this article as:
Boulétreau-Merle, J., Allemand, R., Cohet, Y. et al. Oecologia (1982) 53: 323. doi:10.1007/BF00389008

Summary

Reproductive capacities of tropical and temperate populations of D. melanogaster were compared using three complementary techniques: (1) measure of egg production by females grown in the laboratory under uncrowded conditions and provided as adults with abundant food; (2) study of egg production of flies of unknown ages, collected in nature and then kept in similar conditions; and (3) analysis of ovarian activity of wild females dissected just after their capture.

Tropical populations showed a lower fecundity in the laboratory and this was also observed in laboratory reared adults. On the average, flies also appeared to be older in the tropics than in temperate countries. These data, together with ecological observations showing that tropical populations live in a more predictable and stable environment, suggest that temperature populations are r-selected, while tropical ones are K-selected. The study of ovarian activity of wild females failed however to confirm this expectation. Tropical flies, which have a lower genetic fecundity, generally appeared to produce more propagules than did temperate flies. Such a contradiction shows how the ideas of r- and K-selection are difficult to apply to natural populations of Drosophila. Population density and interindividual competition are probably not the main selective forces in nature. Attention must also be paid to the necessity of exploring the environment to find resources, to the role of predation and parasitism, and to the occurrence in temperate countries of seasonal fluctuations with different selective pressures on successive generations.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Boulétreau-Merle
    • 1
  • R. Allemand
    • 1
  • Y. Cohet
    • 1
  • J. R. David
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biologie des Populations (associé au C.N.R.S.)Université Claude Bernard, Lyon IVilleurbanneFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Biologie et Génétique EvolutivesC.N.R.S.Gif-sur-YvetteFrance