Effect of fruit host on wing morphology in Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae): a first view using geometric morphometrics.
The invasive alien fruit pest Drosophila suzukii, (Matsumura 1931) causes economic loss in soft-skinned fruit production across Europe. After its first detection in 2008, the species has successfully expanded to a wide geographic area and invaded new host plants in a relatively short period of time. The aim of the present study was to analyze the connection between food preferences as host specialization and the morphology of D. suzukii. Population morphological variation in wings was investigated in two different host fruits (grape and strawberry) in which economic damage has been recorded. The geometric morphometric results revealed two noticeable wing shape morphotypes in D. suzukii (i.e. vein configuration) between the grape and strawberry fruits. Flies reared in grapes had wider wings, whereas flies grown in strawberries had more narrow wings. These differences in morphotype could be explained by the effects of wing aerodynamics, which affect the strength of the wings in flight. This, in turn, can lead to better dispersion within the associated fruit host. These results confirm that this extremely invasive species, found worldwide, is successful at spreading in part because of its potential to adapt rapidly under different rearing conditions. Therefore, adaptive variations in the wing shape of D. suzukii can be used to differentiate populations based on food preference (e.g. soft fruits) and can serve as an additional tool for detecting different bioecological types of D. suzukii.