Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Departamento de Ecología, Genética y Evolución, Buenos Aires, Argentina; CONICET, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Instituto de Ecología, Genética y Evolución (IEGEBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina. Electronic address: [Email]
Reproduction is strongly influenced by environmental temperature in insects. At high temperature, mating success could be influenced not only by basal (non-inducible) thermotolerance but also by inducible plastic responses. Here, mating success at high temperature was tested in flies carrying contrasting genotypes of heat resistance in Drosophila melanogaster. The possible heat-hardening effect was tested. Mating success did not differ between heat-resistant and heat-sensitive genotypes when tested both at high (33 °C) and benign (25 °C) temperature, independently of the heat-hardening status. Importantly, heat-hardening pre-treatment increased in a 70% the number of matings at 33 °C in a mass-mating experiment. Further, mating latency at 33 °C was shorter with heat hardening than without it in single-pair assays Heat-hardening had previously been showed to improve short-term thermotolerance in many organisms including Drosophila, and the present results show that heat hardening also improve mating success at elevated temperature. Previous exposures to a mild heat stress improve short-term mating success as a plastic response of ecological relevance. Such heat-hardening effects on mating success should be relevant for predicting potential evolutionary responses to any possible current scenery of global warming, as well as in sterile insect release programs for pest control in elevated temperature environments.