Abstract 1. Before copulation, male Panorpa cognata scorpionflies offer females a salivary secretion, which is consumed by the female during copulation. It has previously been demonstrated that this nuptial food gift functions as mating effort by increasing male attractiveness and by increasing ejaculate transfer during copulation.
2. In this study, the effect of saliva consumption on female reproductive output was investigated, and thus the possibility that nuptial food gifts also serve as paternal investment. The experimental design enabled the effect of nuptial gift consumption to be disentangled from other possible effects of multiple mating or increased copula duration.
3. The results showed that saliva consumption increases female egg production by on average 8% (4.5 eggs) per consumed salivary mass, whereas mean egg weight was not influenced.4. These results have important implications for the evolution and maintenance of both male nuptial gifts and female polyandry in this and other species.