• Cold shock;
  • Drosophila;
  • geographical variation;
  • heat shock;
  • thermoresistance


In insects, species comparisons suggest a weak association between upper thermal limits and latitude in contrast to a stronger association for lower limits. To compare this to latitudinal patterns of thermal responses within species, we considered latitudinal variation in heat and cold resistance in Drosophila melanogaster. We found opposing clines in resistance to these temperature extremes in comparisons of 17–24 populations from coastal eastern Australia. Knockdown time following heat shock increased towards the tropics, whereas recovery time following cold shock decreased towards temperate latitudes. Mortality following cold shock also showed a clinal pattern. Clinal associations with latitude were linear and related to minimum temperatures in the coldest month (for cold resistance) and maximum temperatures in the warmest month (for heat resistance). This suggests that within species both high and low temperature responses can vary with latitude as a consequence of direct or indirect effects of selection.