• environmental background;
  • fitness components;
  • heavy metal;
  • interpopulation differences;
  • laboratory evolution;
  • local adaptation

Abstract  Differences in heavy metal tolerance among separate populations of the same species have often been interpreted as local adaptation. Persistence of differences after removing the stressor indicates that mechanisms responsible for the increased tolerance were genetically determined. Drosophila subobscura Collin (Diptera: Drosophilidae) populations were sampled from two localities with different history of heavy metal pollution, and reared for eight generations in the laboratory on a standard medium and on media with different concentrations of lead (Pb). To determine whether flies from different natural populations exposed to the Pb-contaminated media in the laboratory show population specific variability in fitness components over generations, experimental groups with different concentrations of lead were assayed in three generations (F2, F5, and F8) for fecundity, developmental time, and egg-to-adult viability. On the contaminated medium, fecundity was reduced in later generations and viability was increased, irrespective of the environmental origin of populations. For both populations, developmental time showed a tendency of slowing down on media with lead. Faster development was observed in later generations. Preadaptation to contamination, meaning higher fecundity, higher viability, and faster egg to adult development in all studied generations, was found in D. subobscura originating from the locality with a higher level of heavy metal pollution.