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J Insect Physiol. 2011 Jan;57(1):46-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2010.09.007. Epub 2010 Oct 12.

Effects of photoperiodically induced reproductive diapause and cold hardening on the cold tolerance of Drosophila montana.

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  • 1Department of Biological and Environmental Science, Centre of Excellence in Evolutionary Research, P.O. Box 35, FI-40014 University of Jyväskylä, Finland.


Coping with seasonal and daily variation in environmental conditions requires that organisms are able to adjust their reproduction and stress tolerance according to environmental conditions. Females of Drosophila montana populations have adapted to survive over the dark and cold winters at high latitudes and altitudes by spending this season in photoperiodically controlled reproductive diapause and reproducing only in spring/summer. The present study showed that flies of a northern population of this species are quite tolerant of low temperatures and show high seasonal and short-term plasticity in this trait. Culturing the flies in short day length (nearly all females in reproductive diapause), as well as allowing the flies to get cold hardened before the cold treatment, increased the cold tolerance of both sexes both in chill coma recovery time test and in mortality assay. Chill coma recovery time test performed for the females of two additional D. montana populations cultured in a day length where about half of the females enter diapause, also showed that diapause can increase female cold tolerance even without a change in day length. Direct linkage between diapause and cold tolerance was found in only two strains representing a high-altitude population of the species, but the phenomenon will certainly be worth of studying in northern and southern populations of the species with larger data sets.

2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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