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Cryobiology. 2008 Apr;56(2):159-62. doi: 10.1016/j.cryobiol.2008.01.001. Epub 2008 Jan 18.

Rapid thermal adaptation during field temperature variations in Drosophila melanogaster.

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National Environmental Research Institute, University of Aarhus, Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Vejlsøvej 25, P.O. Box 314, DK-8600 Silkeborg, Denmark.


Under natural conditions, the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) is constantly exposed to variations in temperature and light. Laboratory investigations have demonstrated that D. melanogaster and other insects adapt quickly to temperature variations, but only few studies have investigated this ability under natural temperature variations. Here we placed laboratory raised female D. melanogaster in field cages and exposed them to natural variations in light and temperature over a 2 day period (temperature range: 12-25 degrees C). During this period we sampled flies every 6h and measured their ability to survive heat and cold shock. There was a significant positive correlation between field temperature and heat shock survival and a significant negative correlation between field temperature and cold shock survival indicating that D. melanogaster are constantly adapting to their surrounding environment. The results also suggest that heat and cold resistance are obtained at a cost as these two traits were negatively correlated.

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