1. Seasonality is a prime selective factor expected to result in local adaptation of life cycles and dormancy. Genetic differentiation in diapause response was investigated along a European latitudinal cline in the dung fly Scathophaga stercoraria (Diptera: Scathophagidae). Such differentiation may be mediated by additive or dominance genetic and/or maternal effects, which need to be distinguished.
2. Replicate sibships from five European populations (Lugano, Switzerland: 46.00°N; Zurich, Switzerland: 47.37°N; Oxford, U.K.: 51.75°N; Lund, Sweden: 55.70°N; Reykjavik, Iceland: 64.15°N) were raised in a common laboratory environment known to induce pupal winter diapause (12 °C and 12 h light), revealing a genetic latitudinal cline in both the proportion of individuals entering diapause and diapause duration in response to winter length estimated from weather data.
3. Populations from the extremes of the cline (Lugano and Reykjavik) were further reciprocally crossed to investigate the underlying genetics. This experiment revealed evidence for diapause induction at 12 °C being dominant (i.e. not merely additive) and clearly rejected maternal effects as the primary source of this between-population variation.