Oviposition preference and life history traits in cactophilic Drosophila koepferae and D. buzzatii in association with their natural hosts

Juan J. Fanara, Antonio Fontdevila, Esteban Hasson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Drosophila koepferae and D. buzzatii are two closely related cactophilic species inhabiting the arid lands of southern South America. Previous studies have shown that D. buzzatii breeds primarily on the necrotic cladodes of several Opuntia cacti and D. koepferae on the rotting stems of columnar cacti of the genera Trichocereus and Cereus. In this paper, we analyze the patterns of host plant utilization in a locality where both Drosophila species are sympatric. Field studies showed an absence of differential attraction of adult flies to the rots of two major host cacti: O. sulphurea and T. terschekii. However, the proportion of D. buzzatii flies emerged from the rotting cladodes of O. sulphurea was significantly higher than in T. terschekii. In laboratory experiments, egg to adult viability in single species cultures varied when both Drosophila species were reared in media prepared with O. sulphurea or T. terschekii. In addition, between-species comparisons of flies emerged from single species cultures showed that D. buzzatii adults were smaller and developed faster than D. koepferae. Furthermore, analysis of flies emerged in mixed species cultures showed differences in oviposition preference and oviposition behavior. We discuss the observed between-species differences and suggest that these traits are the result of adaptation to specific patterns of spatial and temporal predictability of their respective preferred host plants: columnar are less dense and less ephemeral resources, whereas the opuntias are more abundant, and fast rotting cacti.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-190
JournalEvolutionary Ecology
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1999

Keywords

  • Body size
  • Cactophilic Drosophila
  • Developmental time
  • Host plants
  • Oviposition preference

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