Genetic variation for anemotaxis (wind-directed movement) in laboratory and wild-caught populations of Drosophilia. Academic Article uri icon


  • Two strains of Drosophila melanogaster were selected for anemotactic response for six generations-one line for upwind response and one line for downwind response. A realized heritability estimate of h2=0.131 ±0.029 was obtained for the upwind response, and a realized heritability estimate of h2=0.012±0.014 was obtained for the downwind response. The divergent selection estimate was h2=0.031±0.013. These values are consistent with previously reported heritability estimates for phototaxis and geotaxis, and serve to suggest that wind-oriented movement can be rapidly modified by selection under different habitat conditions. A comparison of wind response among wild-caught individuals of 11 species shows significant response differences between closely related species. Evaluation of these differences in light of the ecology of the flies suggests that upwind movement occurs among the monophagous species, which must move long distances to find their specific feeding sites, while downwind movement is more typical of polyphagous species. Species which are found in riparian or montane forest conditions showed a general reluctance to move under windy conditions. This corresponds to previous observations on these species and reflects the absence of wind generally encountered by these species during their natural periods of activity. © 1982 Plenum Publishing Corporation.

published proceedings

  • Behav Genet

author list (cited authors)

  • Johnston, J. S.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Johnston, JS

publication date

  • May 1982