This thesis describes a study of the reproductive biology of intact females of Oncopeltus fasciatus, with particular emphasis on longevity, fecundity and egg fertility. Adult females were reared in the laboratory under three experimental regimes: non-mating - isolated from males throughout life; continuous-mating - caged with males continuously; controlled - mating - single mating followed by isolation from males. The age of the females used for controlled mating was varied to determine a possible upper age- limit for mating. Within the controlled mating regime the affect of remating was examined by reintroduction of males to the females. In all regime females were reared in groups and individually.
It was found that Oncopeltus is a very fecund species and that individual females varied greatly in their egg production. Some females were caged in groups, others as individuals and this was found to affect total number of eggs laid and the length of life., e.g., Females living together in groups with males showed a high peak of egg production early and then declined several weeks before death. Whereas females living with males in couples showed steady egg production especially in later life.
It was found that females did not remain fertile for life following a single mating. The average length of fertile period was approximately five weeks, with considerable variability among the individual females. No significant difference was found between the lengths of fertile periods following first and second matings.
Females that were mated late in life showed normal readiness to mate and were fertilized. An upper limit of age for possible mating was found to be about twenty-six weeks.