Development Genes and Evolution

, Volume 226, Issue 3, pp 245–256 | Cite as

Size relationships of different body parts in the three dipteran species Drosophila melanogaster, Ceratitis capitata and Musca domestica

  • Natalia Siomava
  • Ernst A. Wimmer
  • Nico Posnien
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Size and Shape


Body size is an integral feature of an organism that influences many aspects of life such as fecundity, life span and mating success. Size of individual organs and the entire body size represent quantitative traits with a large reaction norm, which are influenced by various environmental factors. In the model system Drosophila melanogaster, pupal size and adult traits, such as tibia and thorax length or wing size, accurately estimate the overall body size. However, it is unclear whether these traits can be used in other flies. Therefore, we studied changes in size of pupae and adult organs in response to different rearing temperatures and densities for D. melanogaster, Ceratitis capitata and Musca domestica. We confirm a clear sexual size dimorphism (SSD) for Drosophila and show that the SSD is less uniform in the other species. Moreover, the size response to changing growth conditions is sex dependent. Comparison of static and evolutionary allometries of the studied traits revealed that response to the same environmental variable is genotype specific but has similarities between species of the same order. We conclude that the value of adult traits as estimators of the absolute body size may differ among species and the use of a single trait may result in wrong assumptions. Therefore, we suggest using a body size coefficient computed from several individual measurements. Our data is of special importance for monitoring activities of natural populations of the three dipteran flies, since they are harmful species causing economical damage (Drosophila, Ceratitis) or transferring diseases (Musca).


Body size Diptera Allometry Temperature Larva crowding Sexual dimorphism 



We thank Y. Wu and L. Beukeboom for providing the Musca flies. This work has been funded by a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) fellowship #A/12/86783 to NS, the Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB) and the Volkswagen Foundation (project number: 85 983; to NP). Special thanks to the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the previous versions of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Johann-Friedrich-Blumenbach-Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Göttingen Center for Molecular Biosciences (GZMB), Department of Developmental BiologyGeorg-August-University GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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