, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 85-94

A qualitative analysis of some life-history correlates of longevity inDrosophila melanogaster

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Three likely traits were examined for their possible connection with increased life span in strains ofDrosophila melanogaster selected for longevity. First, pairing with males caused a substantial reduction in survival of females from the short-lived control strain but, long-lived females were relatively unaffected. A significant component of the improvement in selected females is, therefore, increased tolerance to the presence of mates. Females only slightly affected male survival in either long- or short-lived populations. Selected strains survive substantially better than controls independently of any effect of mate presence.

The (dry) weight of whole flies is equivalent in long- and short-lived populations. Variation in body size does not appear to contribute significantly to extended longevity here.

A third character, the duration of tethered flight, was found to be from three to five times greater in long-lived populations than controls. This suggests the existence of a common physiological basis of longevity to which multiple components contribute in adaptive improvement.