Evolutionary change in parasitoid resistance under crowded conditions in Drosophila melanogaster.
Sanders AE., Scarborough C., Layen SJ., Kraaijeveld AR., Godfray HC.
Patterns of investment of limiting resources in such processes as competing for food and defense against natural enemies are shaped by trade-offs and constraints. In Drosophila melanogaster artificial selection for increased resistance to parasitoids results in a correlated decrease in larval competitive ability. Here we ask whether selection for competitive ability leads to a correlated reduction in parasitoid resistance. Replicated lines of D. melanogaster were maintained under crowded or uncrowded conditions for eight generations. As expected, the crowded lines evolved higher competitive ability (when tested against a common strain of fly). But instead of parasitoid resistance decreasing, we found a significant increase, and that this was associated with elevated densities of haemocytes in second-instar larvae. To understand these results we measured a variety of life-history traits in the two sets of lines. We find evidence that directly and indirectly selected changes in competitive ability are due to different mechanisms. We also ask why crowded conditions should select for increased resistance to parasitism, and conclude that it is unlikely to be due to correlated selection for resistance to other natural enemies, but might be due to correlated selection for better wound responses.