Change in male secondary sexual characters in artificial interspecific hybrid populations

Hampton L. Carson, Francisca C. Val, Alan R. Templeton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interfertile Hawaiian species Drosophila silvestris and Drosophila heteroneura were hybridized, forming reciprocal populations; the SH hybrid line was begun with D. silvestris female parents, and the HS hybrid line was begun with D. heteroneura female parents. Mass laboratory cultures were maintained for 14 generations without artificial selection. The species differ strikingly in two male secondary sexual characters, head shape and foreleg tibial cilia number. These characters are known to be quantitative characters that are influenced by both sex-linked and autosomal factors and appear to be involved in sexual selection. In the later generations (4-14), head shape in SH flies changes significantly; cilia number changes in both SH and HS populations. In terms of the parental phenotypes, the SH population evolved toward a heteroneura-like head while simultaneously evolving toward a silvestris-like tibia. In the HS population, there was no significant change in head shape, but cilia number decreased, making it more like the parental heteroneura. Accordingly, these two secondary sexual characters pursue separate evolutionary pathways. We suggest that these changes are brought about by selection occurring naturally during the later generations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6315-6318
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number14
StatePublished - 5 Jul 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Drosophila
  • Hawaii
  • evolution
  • hybridization
  • selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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