Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 182, Issue 6, pp 751–769 | Cite as

Divergent strategies for adaptation to desiccation stress in two Drosophila species of immigrans group

  • Ravi ParkashEmail author
  • Dau Dayal Aggarwal
  • Poonam Ranga
  • Divya Singh
Original Paper


Water balance mechanisms have been investigated in desert Drosophila species of the subgenus Drosophila from North America, but changes in mesic species of subgenus Drosophila from other continents have received lesser attention. We found divergent strategies for coping with desiccation stress in two species of immigrans group—D. immigrans and D. nasuta. In contrast to clinal variation for body melanization in D. immigrans, cuticular lipid mass showed a positive cline in D. nasuta across a latitudinal transect (10°46′–31°43′N). Based on isofemale lines variability, body melanization showed positive correlation with desiccation resistance in D. immigrans but not in D. nasuta. The use of organic solvents has supported water proofing role of cuticular lipids in D. nasuta but not in D. immigrans. A comparative analysis of water budget of these two species showed that higher water content, reduced rate of water loss and greater dehydration tolerance confer higher desiccation resistance in D. immigrans while the reduced rate of water loss is the only possible mechanism to enhance desiccation tolerance in D. nasuta. We found that carbohydrates act as metabolic fuel during desiccation stress in both the species, whereas their rates of utilization differ significantly between these two species. Further, acclimation to dehydration stress improved desiccation resistance due to increase in the level of carbohydrates in D. immigrans but not in D. nasuta. Thus, populations of D. immigrans and D. nasuta have evolved different water balance mechanisms under shared environmental conditions. Multiple measures of desiccation resistance in D. immigrans but reduction in water loss in D. nasuta are consistent with their different levels of adaptive responses to wet and dry conditions on the Indian subcontinent.


Desiccation resistance Cuticular lipids Energy metabolites Water budget D. immigrans D. nasuta 



Control strains


Desiccation resistant strains









We are indebted to the reviewers for several helpful comments which improved the MS. Financial assistance from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi [Emeritus Scientist project no. 21(0847)11 EMR-11] is gratefully acknowledged. D.D. Aggarwal and Poonam Ranga are thankful to CSIR, New Delhi for research fellowship. Divya is thankful to UGC, New Delhi for project research fellowship (F. NO. 36-159/2008 -SR).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ravi Parkash
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dau Dayal Aggarwal
    • 1
  • Poonam Ranga
    • 1
  • Divya Singh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsMaharshi Dayanand UniversityRohtakIndia

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