Eur. J. Entomol. 108 (2): 205-210, 2011 | 10.14411/eje.2011.028

Effect of shelter on reproduction, growth and longevity of the German cockroach, Blattella germanica (Dictyoptera: Blattellidae)

CÚsar GEMENO1, Gregory M. WILLIAMS2, Coby SCHAL3
1 Department of Crop and Forest Sciences, University of Lleida, Lleida, 25198, Spain; e-mail: cesar.gemeno@pvcf.udl.cat
2 Mosquito and Vector Control Unit, Hudson Regional Health Commission, 595 County Ave., Bld. 1, Secaucus, New Jersey, 07094, USA
3 Department of Entomology and W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, Box 7613, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27695-7613, USA

German cockroaches spend most of the day in aggregations within shelters, which they leave in nocturnal foraging trips; cockroaches are rarely seen outside shelters during daylight hours. However, when population density exceeds shelter availability, diurnal aggregations form in exposed, unsheltered locations. To determine if shelter availability affects fitness of B. germanica, we reared cohorts of nymphs in laboratory arenas with or without shelters, and measured reproduction and longevity of tagged adults. When shelters were available in arenas, nymphs developed faster, adults gained more body mass, and females produced more fertile oothecae than when arenas lacked shelters. Therefore, shelter alone has a significant positive effect on growth and reproduction of B. germanica, and reducing or eliminating shelters should affect population growth of B. germanica in residential and industrial settings.

Keywords: Dictyoptera, Blattellidae, Blattela germanica, cockroach, shelter, fitness, population, aggregation, reproduction, growth, longevity

Received: August 13, 2010; Accepted: November 4, 2010; Published: April 5, 2011

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