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Fitness components of Drosophila melanogaster developed on a standard laboratory diet or a typical natural food source.

  • Torsten Nygaard Kristensen
  • Astrid Kallestrup Henningsen
  • Christian Aastrup
  • Mads Bech-Hansen
  • Lise B Hoberg Bjerre
  • Benjamin Carlsen
  • Marie Hagstrup
  • Sofie Graarup Jensen
  • Pernille Karlsen
  • Line Kristensen
  • Cecillie Lundsgaard
  • Tine Møller
  • Lise D Nielsen
  • Camilla Starcke
  • Christine Riisager Sørensen
  • Mads Fristrup Schou
Publishing year: 2016
Language: English
Pages: 771-779
Publication/Series: Insect science
Volume: 23
Issue: 5
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Abstract english

Drosophila melanogaster is often used as a model organism in evolutionary biology and ecophysiology to study evolutionary processes and their physiological mechanisms. Diets used to feed Drosophila cultures differ between laboratories and are often nutritious and distinct from food sources in the natural habitat. Here we rear D. melanogaster on a standard diet used in our laboratory and a field diet composed of decomposing apples collected in the field. Flies developed on these two diet compositions are tested for heat, cold, desiccation, and starvation resistance as well as developmental time, dry body mass and fat percentage. The nutritional compositions of the standard and field diets were analyzed, and discussed in relation to the phenotypic observations. Results showed marked differences in phenotype of flies from the two types of diets. Flies reared on the field diet are more starvation resistant and they are smaller, leaner, and have lower heat resistance compared to flies reared on the standard diet. Sex specific effects of diet type are observed for several of the investigated traits and the strong sexual dimorphism usually observed in desiccation resistance in D. melanogaster disappeared when rearing the flies on the field diet. Based on our results we conclude that care should be taken in extrapolating results from one type of diet to another and especially from laboratory to field diets.


  • Evolutionary Biology
  • diet
  • field fitness
  • life-history traits
  • stress resistance
  • nutrition


  • ISSN: 1744-7917
Mads Schou
E-mail: mads [dot] schou [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Postdoctoral fellow