Previous studies on two tropical Drosophila species (D. malerkotliana and D. bipectinata) have shown lower resistance to stress related traits but the rapid colonization of D. malerkotliana in the past few decades is not consistent with its sensitivity to desiccation and cold stress. We tested the hypothesis whether developmental acclimation at two growth temperatures (17 & 25 °C) can confer adaptations to desiccation and thermal stresses. We found divergence in developmental plastic effects on cuticular traits i.e. a significant increase of body melanisation (~2 fold) and of cuticular lipid mass (~3 fold) in D. malerkotliana but only 1.5 fold higher cuticular lipid mass in D. bipectinata when grown at 17 °C as compared with 25 °C. A comparison of water budget of these two species showed significantly higher effects of developmental acclimation on body water content, reduced rate of water loss and greater dehydration tolerance to confer higher desiccation resistance in D. malerkotliana as compared with D. bipectinata. Under less warmer growth conditions (17 °C), D. malerkotliana has evidenced greater resistance to cold as well as desiccation stress. In contrast, heat resistance of D. bipectinata is higher than D. malerkotliana when grown at 25 °C. These laboratory observations find support from data on seasonally varying populations. Further, adults acclimated to different stresses showed greater increase in D. malerkotliana as compared with D. bipectinata. Thus, significant increase of stress resistance of D. malerkotliana via developmental acclimation may be responsible for its invasion and ecological success on different continents as compared with D. bipectinata.