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Data from: Niche evolution and thermal adaptation in the temperate species Drosophila americana

Cite this dataset

Sillero, Neftali et al. (2014). Data from: Niche evolution and thermal adaptation in the temperate species Drosophila americana [Dataset]. Dryad.


The study of ecological niche evolution is fundamental for understanding how the environment influences species’ geographical distributions and their adaptation to divergent environments. Here we present a study of the ecological niche, demographic history and thermal performance (locomotor activity, developmental time and fertility/viability) of the temperate species Drosophila americana and its two chromosomal forms. Temperature is the environmental factor that contributes most to the species’ and chromosomal forms’ ecological niches, although precipitation is also important in the model of the southern populations. The past distribution model of the species predicts a drastic reduction in the suitable area for the distribution of the species during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), suggesting a strong bottleneck. However, DNA analyses did not detect a bottleneck signature during the LGM. These contrasting results could indicate that D. americana niche preference evolves with environmental change and, thus, there is no evidence to support niche conservatism in this species. Thermal performance experiments show no difference in the locomotor activity across a temperature range of 15 to 38oC between flies from the north and the south of its distribution. However, we found significant differences in developmental time and fertility/viability between the two chromosomal forms at the model’s optimal temperatures for the two forms. However, results do not indicate that they perform better for the traits studied here in their respective optimal niche temperatures. This suggests that behaviour plays an important role in thermoregulation, supporting the capacity of this species to adapt to different climatic conditions across its latitudinal distribution.

Usage notes


North America