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taxon links [up-->]Blattidae [up-->]Nocticolidae [up-->]Blaberidae [up-->]Raphidiomimidae [up-->]Cryptocercus [up-->]Polyphagidae [up-->]Blattellidae extinct icon Not MonophyleticNot MonophyleticNot MonophyleticPhylogenetic position of group is uncertain[down<--]Dictyoptera Interpreting the tree
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The monophyly of several cockroach families and subfamilies is doubtful, and the relationships among cockroach lineages are still very much debated. One of the most controversial issues is the position of the genus Cryptocercus, which has generally been considered an isolated lineage most closely related to blattid cockroaches (e.g., McKittrick 1964, Kambhampati 1996, Klass 1997, 2001). Grandcolas (1994), however, argues that Cryptocercus is derived from within the Polyphagidae.
Containing group: Dictyoptera


Under bark, or logs, some are arboreal, some live in caves; others in bathtubs and behind bookcases. Some are omnivores; others eat wood.

Upper Carboniferous to Recent. One of the dominant groups of the late Palaeozoic.


Other Names for Blattaria


Atkinson, T. H., P. G. Koehler, and R. S. Patterson. 1991. Catalogue and atlas of the cockroaches of North America north of Mexico. Miscellaneous Publications of the Entomological Society of America No. 78.

Fisk, F. W. 1987. Order Blattodea. Pages 120-131 in Immature Insects. Volume 1. F. W. Stehr, ed. Kendall/Hunt, Dubuque, Iowa.

Fisk, F. W. and H. Wolda. 1979. Keys to the cockroaches of central Panama. Part 1: Flying species. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 14: 177-201.

Gäde, G. 1989. The hypertrehalosemic peptides of cockroaches: A phylogenetic study. General And Comparative Endocrinology 75(2): 287-300.

Gäde, G., P. Grandcolas, and R. Kellner. 1997. Structural data on hypertrehalosaemic neuropeptides from Cryptocercus punctulatus and Therea petiveriana: How do they fit into the phylogeny of cockroaches? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 264(1382): 763-768.

Gordon, D. G. 1996. The Compleat Cockroach. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, California. 178 pp.

Grandcolas, P. 1994. Phylogenetic systematics of the subfamily Polyphaginae, with the assignment of Cryptocercus Scudder, 1862 to this taxon (Blatteria, Blaberoidea, Polyphagidae). Systematic Entomology 19: 145–158.

Grandcolas, P. 1996. The phylogeny of cockroach families: A cladistic appraisal of morpho-anatomical data. Canadian Journal of Zoology 74(3):508-527.

Grandcolas, P. and C. D’Haese. 2001. The phylogeny of cockroach families: is the current molecular hypothesis robust? Cladistics 17: 48–55.

Hathorne, K. T. and P. A. Zungoli. 1999. Identification of late-instar nymphs of cockroaches (Blattodea). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 101(2): 316-324.

Jarzembowski, E. A. 1994. Fossil Cockroaches or Pinnule Insects? Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 105: 305-311.

Kambhampati, S. 1995. A phylogeny of cockroaches and related insects based on DNA sequence of mitochondrial ribosomal RNA genes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 92: 2017–2020.

Kambhampati, S. 1996. Phylogenetic relationships among cockroach families inferred from mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene sequence. Systematic Entomology 21: 89–98.

Kevan, D. K. McE. (ed.) 1977. The higher classification of the orthopteroid insects. Lyman Entomol. Mus. Res. Lab. Memoir No. 4 (Special Publ. No. 12):1-26.

Klass, K.-D. 1997. The external genitalia and the phylogeny of Blattaria and Mantodea. Bonner Zoologische Monographien 42: 1-341.

Klass, K.-D. 2001. Morphological evidence on blattarian phylogeny: "phylogenetic histories and stories" (Insecta, Dictyoptera). Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 48(2): 223-265.

Lo, N., O. Kitade, T. Miura, R. Constantino, and T. Matsumoto. 2004. Molecular phylogeny of the Rhinotermitidae. Insectes Sociaux 51(4): 365-371.

Maekawa, K., and T. Matsumoto. 2000. Molecular phylogeny of cockroaches (Blattaria) based on mitochondrial COII gene sequences. Systematic Entomology 25: 511-519.

McKittrick, F. A. 1964. Evolutionary study of cockroaches. Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station Memoirs 389: 1-197.

McKittrick, F. A. 1965. A contribution to the understanding of cockroach-termite affinities. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 58: 18-22.

Mukha, D., B.M. Wiegmann and C. Schal. 2002. Evolution and phylogenetic information content of the ribosomal DNA repeat unit in the Blattodea (Insecta). Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 32(9): 951-960.

Nalepa, C. A. and W. J. Bell. 1997. Postovulation parental investment and parental care in cockroaches. Pages 26-51 in The Evolution of Social Behavior in Insects and Arachnids. J. C. Choe and B. J. Crespi, eds. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York & Oakleigh.

Pratt, H. D. 1988. Annotated checklist of the cockroaches (Dictyoptera) of North America. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 81(6):882-885.

Roth, L. M. 1988. Some cavernicolous and epigean cockroaches with six new species, and a discussion of the Nocticolidae (Dictyoptera: Blattaria). Revue Suisse de Zoologie 95: 297-321.

Roth, L. M. 1990. Cockroaches from the Krakatau Islands (Dictyoptera: Blattaria). Memoirs of the Museum of Victoria 50: 357-358.

Roth, L. M. 1991. Blattodea, Blattaria (cockroaches). Pages 320-329 in Insects of Australia: A Textbook for Students and Research Workers. Volume I. Second Edition. I. D. Naumann, P. B. Carne, J. F. Lawrence, E. S. Nielsen, J. P. Spradberry, R. W. Taylor, M. J. Whitten and M. J. Littlejohn eds. Carlton, Victoria, Melbourne University Press.

Roth, L.M. 2003. Systematics and phylogeny of cockroaches (Dictyoptera: Blattaria). Oriental Insects 37: 1-186.

Schal, C., J.-Y. Gautier, and W. J. Bell. 1984. Behavioural ecology of cockroaches. Biological Reviews 59: 209-254.

Thorne, B. L. 1990. A case for ancestral transfer of symbionts between cockroaches and termites. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 241(1300): 37-41.

Thorne, B. L. 1991. Ancestral transfer of symbionts between cockroaches and termites: An alternative hypothesis. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 246(1317): 191-196.

Thorne, B. L. and J. M. Carpenter. 1992. Phylogeny of the dictyoptera. Systematic Entomology 17(3): 253-268.

Vrsansky, P. 2001. Decreasing variability - from the Carboniferous to the present (Validated on independent lineages of Blattaria). Paleontological Journal 34: S374-S379.

Vrsansky, P. 2001. Viviblatta nom. nov., new replacement name for the genus Kargalia (Insecta: Blattaria). Entomological Problems 31(2): 194.

Vrsansky, P. 2004. Transitional Jurassic/Cretaceous cockroach assemblage (Insecta, Blattaria) from the Shar-Teg in Mongolia. Geologica Carpathica 55(6): 457-468.

Information on the Internet

Title Illustrations
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Scientific Name Rhabdoblatta terranea
Reference R. Shelford. 1910. Orthoptera. Fam. Blattidae. Subfam. Epilamprinae. Genera Insectorum de P. Wytsman 101:1-29
Scientific Name Paratropes phalerata
Reference R. Shelford. 1908. Orthoptera. Fam. Blattidae. Subfam. Nyctiborinae. Genera Insectorum de P. Wytsman 109:1-8
Scientific Name Neostylopyga ornata
Reference R. Shelford. 1910. Orthoptera. Fam. Blattidae. Subfam. Blattinae (=Periplanetinae). Genera Insectorum de P. Wytsman 109:1-27
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