Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Aged virgin adults respond to extreme heat events with phenotypic plasticity in an invasive species, Drosophila suzukii.

Abstract

Climate warming has increased the frequency of extreme heat events. Alien species usually invade new areas with a low-density population and often have limited mating opportunities due to the unsynchronized emergence of adults. Early-emerging virgin adults often have to wait to mate with later-emerging partners at the cost of aging, which reduces thermal tolerance. To understand the adaptive strategies of virgin males/females versus those of mated males/females in response to heat stress during aging, we conducted a fully factorial experiment to test the basal and plastic heat tolerance (CTmax, critical thermal maximum) of males and females with different mating statuses (virgin and mated) at different ages (5, 10, and 15 days after eclosion) after different acclimation regimes (null, rapid and developmental heat acclimation) in a well-known invasive species, Drosophila suzukii. We found that mating could change the heat tolerance of adults during aging. Mated females had higher basal heat tolerance than virgin females, while mated males had lower tolerance than virgin males. Mating could generally decrease the acclimation capacity (i.e., plasticity of heat tolerance) during aging. Aged virgin adults had a much higher acclimation capacity than aged mated adults. Our findings suggest that phenotypic plasticity of heat tolerance may be a main strategy used by virgin adults to cope with heat events. The phenotypic plasticity of thermal tolerance could increase the invasion success of alien species in new areas by allowing them to rapid respond to local temperature changes.