• Cactophilic Drosophila;
  • differential colonization;
  • fecundity;
  • habitat selection;
  • oviposition acceptance.

Abstract We tested for the occurrence of oviposition acceptance for different media prepared with cactus tissues of three alternative cactus hosts: Opuntia sulphurea, O. quimilo and Trichocereus terschekii for 4 consecutive days in lines of two Drosophila buzzatii populations and one population of D. koepferae. Our results showed that the former laid significantly more eggs on both Opuntia cacti than on T. terschekii, whereas D. koepferae preferred T. terschekii. In addition, fecundity schedules differed between species: D. buzzatii laid similar numbers of eggs along the fourday sampling period, whereas D. koepferae showed an oviposition peak on the second day of egg collection on T. terschekii. We suggest that the between-species disparities observed in oviposition acceptance and fecundity schedule may be related to the temporal and spatial predictability of Opuntia versus T. terschekii (cardón) as part of the different adaptive strategies that have evolved after the split of D. koepferae and D. buzzatii from their recent common ancestor. Therefore, the willingness to accept hosts would be an important factor in the habitat selection and in the maintenance of species diversity.