Ecological Research

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 499–505 | Cite as

Local adaptation and ecological fitting in host use of the Drosophila parasitoid Leptopilina japonica

  • Masahito T. KimuraEmail author
  • Biljana Novković
Original Article


Local adaptation and ecological fitting are the major processes by which organisms colonize and persist in novel environments and form novel associations with unfamiliar species. In this study, we assessed the role of these two processes in the formation of associations between the parasitoid Leptopilina japonica and various host Drosophila species using laboratory populations from three different localities. Each L. japonica population was highly virulent to some Drosophila species from its original locality, meaning they used these Drosophila species as major hosts. However, major host species at a given locality were usually less successfully parasitized by parasitoid populations from different localities. These results indicate that the investigated parasitoid populations showed local adaptation in host use. We also observed cases in which unfamiliar Drosophila species were successfully parasitized or allopatric Drosophila populations were more successfully parasitized. These findings suggest that L. japonica can form novel associations with some Drosophila species in novel environments without undergoing adaptive changes, a phenomenon called ecological fitting. In this study, L. japonica also usually appeared to have oviposited well in D. melanogaster species group members irrespective of their suitability as hosts. This result suggests that the parasitoid makes oviposition decisions based on characteristics common to the drosophilids in this species group.


Allopatric Host acceptance Host suitability Sympatric Taxonomic effect 



We thank H. Mitsui, M. J. Toda, M. Kondo, M. B. Lakim, S.-C. Tsaur and N. Kasuya for providing us with laboratory populations of parasitoid and Drosophila species and for their help with collections. This study was partly supported by a Grant-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, Culture and Technology of Japan (No. 23370005).


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Environmental Earth ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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