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Ontogenetic variation in plasticity is important to understanding mechanisms and patterns of thermal tolerance variation. The Bogert effect postulates that, to compensate for their inability to behaviourally thermoregulate, less-mobile life stages of ectotherms are expected to show greater plasticity of thermal tolerance than more-mobile life stages. We test this general prediction by comparing plasticity of thermal tolerance (rapid cold-hardening, RCH) between mobile adults and less-mobile larvae of 16 Drosophila species. We find an RCH response in adults of 13 species but only in larvae of four species. Thus, the Bogert effect is not as widespread as expected.