Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Phenotypic plasticity of Drosophila suzukii wing to developmental temperature: implications for flight.

Abstract

Phenotypic plasticity has been proposed as a mechanism that facilitates the success of biological invasions. In order to test the hypothesis of an adaptive role for plasticity in invasions, particular attention should be paid to the relationship between the focal plastic trait, the environmental stimulus and the functional importance of the trait. The Drosophila wing is particularly amenable to experimental studies of phenotypic plasticity. Wing morphology is known for its plastic variation under different experimental temperatures, but this plasticity has rarely been investigated in a functional context of flight. Here, we investigate the effect of temperature on wing morphology and flight in the invasive pest species Drosophila suzukii. Although the rapid invasion of both Europe and North America was most likely facilitated by human activities, D. suzukii is also expected to disperse actively. By quantifying wing morphology and individual flight trajectories of flies raised under different temperatures, we tested whether (1) invasive populations of D. suzukii show higher phenotypic plasticity than their native counterparts, and (2) wing plasticity affects flight parameters. Developmental temperature was found to affect both wing morphology and flight parameters (in particular speed and acceleration), leaving open the possibility of an adaptive value for wing plasticity. Our results show no difference in phenotypic plasticity between invasive and native populations, rejecting a role for wing plasticity in the invasion success.