Journal of Genetics

, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 191–205

Variation in adult life history and stress resistance across five species ofDrosophila

  • N. Sharmila Bharathi
  • N. G. Prasad
  • Mallikarjun Shakarad
  • Amitabh Joshi
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF02715818

Cite this article as:
Bharathi, N.S., Prasad, N.G., Shakarad, M. et al. J Genet (2003) 82: 191. doi:10.1007/BF02715818

Abstract

Dry weight at eclosion, adult lifespan, lifetime fecundity, lipid and carbohydrate content at eclosion, and starvation and desiccation resistance at eclosion were assayed on a long-term laboratory population ofDrosophila melanogaster, and one recently wild-caught population each of four other species ofDrosophila, two from themelanogaster and two from theimmigrans species group. The relationships among trait means across the five species did not conform to expectations based on correlations among these traits inferred from selection studies onD. melanogaster. In particular, the expected positive relationships between fecundity and size/lipid content, lipid content and starvation resistance, carbohydrate (glycogen) content and desiccation resistance, and the expected negative relationship between lifespan and fecundity were not observed. Most traits were strongly positively correlated between sexes across species, except for fractional lipid content and starvation resistance per microgram lipid. For most traits, there was evidence for significant sexual dimorphism but the degree of dimorphism did not vary across species except in the case of adult lifespan, starvation resistance per microgram lipid, and desiccation resistance per microgram carbohydrate. Overall,D. nasuta nasuta andD. sulfurigaster neonasuta (immigrans group) were heavier at eclosion than themelanogaster group species, and tended to have somewhat higher absolute lipid content and starvation resistance. Yet, these twoimmigrans group species were shorter-lived and had lower average daily fecundity than themelanogaster group species. The smallest species,D. malerkotliana (melanogaster group), had relatively high daily fecundity, intermediate lifespan and high fractional lipid content, especially in females.D. ananassae (melanogaster group) had the highest absolute and fractional carbohydrate content, but its desiccation resistance per microgram carbohydrate was the lowest among the five species. In terms of overall performance, the laboratory population ofD. melanogaster was clearly superior, under laboratory conditions, to the other four species if adult lifespan, lifetime fecundity, average daily fecundity, and absolute starvation and desiccation resistance are considered. This finding is contrary to several recent reports of substantially higher adult lifespan and stress resistance in recently wild-caught flies, relative to flies maintained for a long time in discretegeneration laboratory cultures. Possible explanations for these apparent anomalies are discussed in the context of the differing selection pressures likely to be experienced byDrosophila populations in laboratory versus wild environments.

Keywords

life-history evolutionlifespanfecunditystarvationdesiccationlipidglycogensexual dimorphismlaboratoryadaptationDrosophila

Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Sharmila Bharathi
    • 1
  • N. G. Prasad
    • 1
  • Mallikarjun Shakarad
    • 2
  • Amitabh Joshi
    • 1
  1. 1.Evolutionary Biology Laboratory, Evolutionary and Organismal Biology UnitJawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific ResearchBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution Laboratory, Department of BiologyPoornaprajna Institute of Scientific ResearchBangaloreIndia
  3. 3.Department of BiologyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada