Desiccation resistance in four Drosophila species: Sex and population effects

Therese A. Markow, Luciano M. Matzkin, Thomas D. Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Desiccation resistance and body mass were measured in multiple populations of each of four species of Drosophila: two desert endemic species (D. nigrospiracula and D. mojavensis), and two with more widespread distributions (D. melanogaster and D. pseudoobscura). While flies from the desert species were more desiccation tolerant, there was, in certain cases, significant variation in desiccation resistance among populations of the same species. A significant difference in desiccation resistance was observed between the sexes, females were more resistant than males, but this relationship was reversed when taking into account body mass differences between the sexes. The degree of observed within-species variability demonstrates that studies focusing upon differences between species can produce different conclusions if they rely on observations for only single populations of a given species. Our data also suggest the existence of multiple mechanisms for desiccation resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-273
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2007


  • Adaptation
  • Desiccation resistance
  • Drosophila
  • Mesic adaptation
  • Population variation
  • Stress resistance
  • Xeric adaptation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


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