Jun 15, 2012

Evolution of foraging behaviour in response to chronic malnutrition in Drosophila melanogaster

Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Roshan K VijendravarmaTadeusz J Kawecki


Chronic exposure to food of low quality may exert conflicting selection pressures on foraging behaviour. On the one hand, more active search behaviour may allow the animal to find patches with slightly better, or more, food; on the other hand, such active foraging is energetically costly, and thus may be opposed by selection for energetic efficiency. Here, we test these alternative hypotheses in Drosophila larvae. We show that populations which experimentally evolved improved tolerance to larval chronic malnutrition have shorter foraging path length than unselected control populations. A behavioural polymorphism in foraging path length (the rover-sitter polymorphism) exists in nature and is attributed to the foraging locus (for). We show that a sitter strain (for(s2)) survives better on the poor food than the rover strain (for(R)), confirming that the sitter foraging strategy is advantageous under malnutrition. Larvae of the selected and control populations did not differ in global for expression. However, a quantitative complementation test suggests that the for locus may have contributed to the adaptation to poor food in one of the selected populations, either through a change in for allele frequencies, or by interacting epis...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Gene Polymorphism
Foraging protein, Drosophila
Drosophila melanogaster Proteins

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