Taxonomy

There are about 4000 species of cockroaches worldwide. About 70 species occur in the United States, 24 of which have been introduced from other parts of the world. According to Atkinson et al. (1991), 17 of these species are pests of varying degrees. There are five cockroach families, three of which include most of the pest species: Blat-tidae, Blattellidae, and Blaberidae. Species in the Cryp-tocercidae are unusual in that they have gut symbionts similar to those found in termites, and they live in family groups in decaying logs. Members of the Polyphagi-dae include those dwelling in arid regions, where they are capable of moving rapidly through sand. Species in these two families are rarely pests. The family Blattidae includes relatively large cockroaches that are the most common peridomestic pests throughout much of the world. Blattellid cockroaches range in length from less than 25 mm (e.g., Supelia. and Blattella) to 35-40 mm (e.g., Peri-planeta and Parcoblatta spp.). Parcoblatta species are feral, occasionally invading homes but seldom reproducing indoors. Blaberid cockroaches range greatly in size and include some of the more unusual species, such as the Cuban cockroach, which is green as an adult, and the Surinam cockroach, which is parthenogenetic in North America. Nearly all of the blaberids that occur in the United States are restricted to subtropical regions and have minor medical or veterinary significance. Taxo-nomic keys for adults are provided by McKittrick (1964), Cornwell (1968), Roth (1985), and Heifer (1987). Apic-torial key for identifying the egg cases of common cockroaches is provided by Scott and Borom (1964).

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