Fitness costs of rapid cold-hardening in Ceratitis capitata

C. Helene Basson, Casper Nyamukondiwa, John S. Terblanche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid cold-hardening (RCH) is a unique form of phenotypic plasticity which confers survival advantages at low temperature. The fitness costs of RCH are generally poorly elucidated and are important to understanding the evolution of plastic physiology. This study examined whether RCH responses, induced by ecologically relevant diel temperature fluctuations, carry metabolic, survival, or fecundity costs. We predicted that potential costs in RCH would be manifested as differences in metabolic rate, fecundity, or survival in flies which have hardened versus those which have not, or flies that have experienced more RCH events would show greater costs than those which have experienced fewer events. One group of flies cooled to 10°C for 2 h for 11 consecutive days experienced daily RCH (Hardened), whereas the other group exposed to 15°C for the same 2-h period each day formed a Control group. Hardened flies had higher survival at -5°C for 2 h than control flies (69 ± 9% vs. 44 ± 19%, P= 0.04). Hardened flies showed no metabolic or fecundity costs, but had reduced average survival (P= 0.0403). Thus, a major cost to repeated low temperature exposures in Ceratitis capitatais through direct mortality caused by chilling injury, although this appears not to be a direct cost of RCH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-304
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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