Differences in larval nutritional requirements and female oviposition preference reflect the order of fruit colonization of Zaprionus indianus and Drosophila simulans

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Matavelli, Cristiane [UNESP]
Carvalho, Maria João A.
Martins, Nelson E.
Mirth, Christen K.

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Elsevier B. V.


Species coexist using the same nutritional resource by partitioning it either in space or time, but few studies explore how species-specific nutritional requirements allow partitioning. Zaprionus indianus and Drosophila simulans co-exist in figs by invading the fruit at different stages; Z. indianus colonizes ripe figs, whereas D. simulans oviposits in decaying fruit. Larvae feed on yeast growing on the fruit, which serves as their primary protein source. Because yeast populations increase as fruit decays, we find that ripe fruit has lower protein content than rotting fruit. Therefore, we hypothesized that Z. indianus and D. simulans larvae differ in their dietary requirements for protein. We used nutritional geometry to assess the effects of protein and carbohydrate concentration in the larval diet on life history characters in both species. Survival, development time, and ovariole number respond differently to the composition of the larval diet, with Z. indianus generally performing better across a wider range of protein concentrations. Correspondingly, we found that Z. indianus females preferred to lay eggs on low protein foods, while D. simulans females chose higher protein foods for oviposition when competing with Z. indianus. We propose the different nutritional requirements and oviposition preference of these two species allows them to temporally partition their habitat.



Larval diet, Life-history traits, Macronutrient requirements, Nutritional geometry, Oviposition preference, Stage of ripeness/decay, Temporal partitioning

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Journal Of Insect Physiology, v. 82, p. 66-74, 2015.