Drosophila as models to understand the adaptive process during invasion

Authors: Patricia Gibert , Matthew Hill, Marta Pascual, Christophe Plantamp, John S Terblanche, Amir Yassin and Carla M Sgrò

Published in: Biological Invasions, volume 18, issue 4 (April 2016)


The last few decades have seen a growing number of species invasions globally, including many insect species.

In drosophilids, there are several examples of successful invasions, i.e. Zaprionus indianus and Drosophila subobscura some decades ago, but the most recent and prominent example is the invasion of Europe and North America by the pest species, Drosophila suzukii.

During the invasive process, species often encounter diverse environmental conditions that they must respond to, either through rapid genetic adaptive shifts or phenotypic plasticity, or by some combination of both. Consequently, invasive species constitute powerful models for investigating various questions related to the adaptive processes that underpin successful invasions.

In this paper, we highlight how Drosophila have been and remain a valuable model group for understanding these underlying adaptive processes, and how they enable insight into key questions in invasion biology, including how quickly adaptive responses can occur when species are faced with new environmental conditions.


Gibert P, Hill M, Pascual M, Plantamp C, Terblanche JS, Yassin A, Sgrò, CM (2016) Drosophila as models to understand the adaptive process during invasion. Biological Invasions, 18:1089–1103 PDF DOI