When assessing the reproductive potential of laboratory-reared predatory insects, the role of males is often neglected, although they may have a significant impact on the reproductive output of their female mates. The current study investigated the effect of age and diet of males on the reproductive capacity of the anthocorid predator Orius laevigatus (Fieber) (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae). The tested diets consisted of eggs of Anagasta kuehniella (Zeller) and an egg yolk-based artificial diet. Regardless of their diet, virgin females did not produce any mature oocytes, indicating that mating is required to complete ovarian development. Food source and age of the males affected the reproductive potential of their female mates. When both males and females were offered the artificial diet, male age had a significant effect on female oocyte counts. Virgin females that were mated with 0-d-old virgin males produced fewer offspring than those mated with 8-d-old virgin males. In contrast, male age did not affect fecundity when the males were fed A. kuehniella eggs. The implications of the findings for the mass production of O. laevigatus are discussed.
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