• aging;
  • Drosophila mercatorum;
  • heat stress;
  • maternal effects;
  • Procrustes analysis;
  • shape


Maternal effects on progeny wing size and shape in a homozygous parthenogenetic strain of Drosophila mercatorum were investigated. The impact of external maternal factors (heat stress) and the impact of internal maternal factors (different maternal and grand maternal age) were studied. The offspring developed under identical environmental conditions, and due to lack of genetic variation any phenotypic difference among offspring could be ascribed to maternal effects. Wing size was estimated by centroid size, shape was analysed with the Procrustes geometric morphometric method and variation in landmark displacement was visualized by principal component analysis. Both kinds of maternal effects had a significant impact on progeny wing size and shape. Maternal heat stress led to the same pattern of response in size and shape among the progeny, with increased difference between the control group and progeny from heat stressed flies in both size and shape with increased maternal heat stress temperature. The effects of maternal age, however, led to different responses in size and shape between the different progeny groups. The observed variation in landmark displacements was similar, and in both cases mainly associated with shape differences of the posterior part of the wing. Finally, our results suggest that maternal effect has some evolutionary implications by altering the genetic correlations among traits, which can affect the response to selective pressures.