Developmental integration is the covariation among morphological structures due to connections between the developmental processes that built them. Here we use the methods of geometric morphometrics to study integration in the wing of Drosophila melanogaster. In particular, we focus on the hypothesis that the anterior and posterior wing compartments are separate developmental units that vary independently. We measured both variation among genetically diverse individuals and random differences between body sides of single individuals (fluctuating asymmetry, FA). For both of these sources of variation, the patterns of variation identified by principal component analyses all involved landmarks in both the anterior and posterior compartments simultaneously. Analyses focusing exclusively on the covariation between the anterior and posterior compartments, by the partial least-squares method, revealed pervasive integration of the two compartments, for both individual variation and FA. These analyses clearly indicate that the anterior and posterior compartments are not separate units of variation, but that the covariation between compartments is sufficient to account for nearly all the variation throughout the entire wing. We conclude that variation among individuals as well as the developmental perturbations responsible for FA generate shape variation primarily through developmental processes that are integrated across both compartments. In contrast, much less of the shape variation in our sample can be attributed to the localized processes that establish the identity of particular wing veins.
Corresponding Editor: M. Zelditch