Supella Supellictilium

Suborder Blattodea chapter 7 In members of the suborder Blattodea the head is covered with a large, shield shaped pronotum; the legs are identical; and the gizzard is strongly dentate.

Superfamily Polyphagoidea

Included in this group are two families, POLYPHAGIDAE (about 190 species) and CRYPTOCERCIDAE (nine species in the genus Cryptocercus). The Polyphagidae is a widely distributed family that includes the most primitive living cockroaches. They are generally small (2 cm or less in length) and often have a hairy pronotum. Some inhabit arid regions, living in small burrows that they leave to forage at night, and a few species are inquilines in ants' nests. Until 1997, the Cryptocercidae was considered to include only three species, one being C. punctulatus, from mountainous regions in eastern and western United States. However, this number has now been increased to nine following recent discoveries in Eurasia (four species) and molecular biological analyses of the United States' populations which indicate that C. punctulatus is a complex of five species (Hossain and Kambhampati, 2001). Studies on Cryptocercus have been particularly important in discussions of evolutionary links between the Blattodea and termites. These cockroaches live in colonies containing individuals of all ages beneath rotting logs and show subsocial behavior. They feed on wood that, as in the "lower" termites, is digested by flagellate protozoans present in the hindgut. As the lining and contents of the hindgut are lost at each molt, insects must obtain a fresh supply of protozoans. This they do by eating fecal pellets.

Superfamily Blattoidea

This superfamily includes the BLATTIDAE, BLATTELLIDAE, and BLABERIDAE. The approximately 525 species in the cosmopolitan Blattidae are generally fairly large cockroaches (2-5 cm in length) and may be recognized by the numerous spines on the ventroposterior margin of the femora. The family contains several species that are closely associated with humans and do considerable damage to their property, as well as cause health hazards through contamination of food. Blatta orientalis (the Oriental cockroach) (Figure 7.6A) appears to be a native of the Mediterranean region but has been distributed through commerce to many parts of the world. It is the major cockroach pest in Britain and is widely distributed throughout North America. It prefers generally cool situations and is typically found in cellars, basements, toilets, bathrooms, and kitchens. It can tolerate warmer conditions provided that water is available. Four species of Periplaneta, P. americana (the American cockroach) (Figure 7.6B), P. australasiae (the Australian cockroach), P fuliginosa (the smokey-brown cockroach), and P. brunnea (the brown cockroach), which are of African origin, are also found in and around human habitations. All four species prefer warmer, moister habitats than those enjoyed by B. orientalis, and are frequently found in outdoor habitats in subtropical regions.

Blattellidae are generally small cockroaches (not usually more than about 1 cm in length), with relatively long, slender legs. This, the largest cockroach family (about 1740 species), is widely distributed and contains two major pest species, Blattella germanica (the German cockroach) (Figure 7.6C) and Supella longipalpa (formerly supellictilium) (the brown-banded cockroach). The German cockroach ranks second to the Oriental cockroach in economic importance. It prefers warm, humid surroundings, such as are found in bakeries,

FIGURE 7.6. Cockroaches. (A) The Oriental cockroach, Blatta orientalis (Blattidae); (B) the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana (Blattidae); and (C) the German cockroach, Blattella germanica (Blattellidae). [From L. A. Swan and C. S. Papp, 1972, Copyright 1972 by L. A. Swan and C. S. Papp. Reprinted by permission of Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc.]

FIGURE 7.6. Cockroaches. (A) The Oriental cockroach, Blatta orientalis (Blattidae); (B) the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana (Blattidae); and (C) the German cockroach, Blattella germanica (Blattellidae). [From L. A. Swan and C. S. Papp, 1972, Copyright 1972 by L. A. Swan and C. S. Papp. Reprinted by permission of Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc.]

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