Evol Ecol Res 8: 813-828 (2006)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Are fitness effects of density mediated by body size? Evidence from Drosophila field releases

Ary A. Hoffmann1* and Volker Loeschcke2

1Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research, Department of Zoology, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia and  2Aarhus Centre for Environmental Stress Research, Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Aarhus, Ny Munkegade, Building 540, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: ary@unimelb.edu.au


Question: Does a high larval density decrease adult field fitness by reducing body size?

Hypothesis: Larval density influences capture success by changing adult body size.

Organism: Drosophila melanogaster reared under different larval density conditions.

Field site: Eucalyptus woodland lacking soft fruit on which Drosophila breed.

Methods: Flies from different density conditions were released at a central point, and then captured on banana bait in a series of experiments. Wing size was measured as a surrogate of body size.

Conclusion: Capture success varied with density, but was not positively related to size in females. Females tended to be caught sooner than males and large females were caught sooner than small females when conditions were cool. Larval density influenced adult field fitness but not necessarily by affecting size.

Keywords: body size, capture success, density, Drosophila, field fitness, resource location.

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