Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule 1 (Dscam1) has wide-reaching and vital neuronal functions although the role it plays in insect and crustacean immunity is less well understood. In this study, we combine different approaches to understand the roles that Dscam1 plays in fitness-related contexts in two model insect species. Contrary to our expectations, we found no short-term modulation of Dscam1 gene expression after haemocoelic or oral bacterial exposure in Tribolium castaneum, or after haemocoelic bacterial exposure in Drosophila melanogaster. Furthermore, RNAi-mediated Dscam1 knockdown and subsequent bacterial exposure did not reduce T. castaneum survival. However, Dscam1 knockdown in larvae resulted in adult locomotion defects, as well as dramatically reduced fecundity in males and females. We suggest that Dscam1 does not always play a straightforward role in immunity, but strongly influences behaviour and fecundity. This study takes a step towards understanding more about the role of this intriguing gene from different phenotypic perspectives.