Behavior Genetics

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 433–441 | Cite as

Genetics of a nonoptimal behavior: Oviposition preference ofDrosophila mauritiana for a toxic resource

  • B. Moreteau
  • S. R'Kha
  • J. R. David


Among three sibling species of theD. melanogaster subgroup, two are generalists (D. simulans andD. mauritiana), while the third,D. sechellia, specializes on a single toxic resource, the fruit ofMorinda citrifolia. D. sechellia, resistant to the toxics, prefers to oviposit on morinda;D. simulans, which is very sensitive, is strongly repelled.D. mauritiana exhibits an aberrant behavior since it prefers to lay its eggs on morinda, where its embryos are killed. Oviposition behavior, studied in parental species, F1 hybrids, and backcrosses, was mostly an additive genetical trait. Further investigations were made withD. mauritiana andD. simulans carrying recessive markers. The X and second chromosomes had no effect, while a clear effect was found for chromosome 3. Since the toxicity of morinda is due to middle-length fatty acids, the behavior of the three species toward various acids was investigated. We found thatD. sechellia exhibited a general oviposition preference for acids, whileD. simulans was repelled by acids with at least four carbons. SurprisinglyD. mauritiana exhibited behavior quite similar to that ofD. simulans. Preference for morinda inD. sechellia andD. mauritiana could be mediated by different chemicals.

Key Words

Oviposition behavior ecological specialization Drosophila sechellia Morinda citrifolia aliphatic acids 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Moreteau
    • 1
  • S. R'Kha
    • 1
  • J. R. David
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biologie et Génétique évolutivesCNRSGif sur Yvette CedexFrance

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