Thirteen linear wing dimensions were measured in 10 isofemale lines of Drosophila melanogaster and D. simulans grown at seven constant temperatures from 12 to 31 °C. Within-line (environmental) variability, estimated by the within-line coefficient of variation (CVw), exhibited similar variation patterns in the two species, that is higher values at extreme (low or high) temperatures. The magnitude of variation was, however, greater in D. simulans, which appears to be more responsive to thermal change. A clear hyperbolic relationship between trait mean value and CVw was also observed in both species, arising from measurement errors which are relatively more pronounced on shorter traits. Genetic variability was analysed by considering both the genetic CV (CVg, evolvability) and isofemale line heritability (intraclass correlation). Both parameters provided independent information, as shown by a lack of correlation between them. Moreover, CVg was negatively correlated with trait mean value, while heritability showed a positive correlation. With respect to thermal environment, both parameters exhibited similar reaction patterns which contrasted the two species. Genetic variability in D. melanogaster followed a convex reaction norm, with higher values at extreme (high or low) temperatures, and this observation agrees with previous independent investigations. Surprisingly, D. simulans revealed an opposite pattern, with a maximum genetic variability in the middle of the range. Such data point to the danger of drawing general conclusions from the analysis of a single species.