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Suborder Blattaria - Cockroaches

Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
No Taxon (pics in gallery of the Spencer Entomological Collection)
No Taxon (Obsolete higher taxa -- Please delete)
Order Dictyoptera-to-be-deleted (suborders elevated to order; please delete)
Suborder Blattaria (Cockroaches)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
This page is obsolete; cockroaches are now placed in their own order, Blattodea.
Explanation of Names
Blattaria is from Latin blatta, a cockroach (1). English cockroach itself is derived by folk etymology from Spanish cucaracha. That, itself, is a derivative of Spanish cuco, an insect; the Spanish word perhaps from Latin cucus, a Jackdaw (Partridge, 1958, Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English).
At least 3500 species of cockroaches known worldwide, about 57 found in North America. (Of the latter, only a half-dozen or so are pests, and most of those not native North American species--see Remarks.)
Cockroaches are usually dark brown or reddish in color and have flattened oval bodies and long swept-back antennae. The head is usually concealed by the pronotum which extends far forward. When wings are present, they are held flat over the back, overlapping one another.
throughout North America and worldwide
Though considered tropical insects, cockroaches can flourish in any environment where there is sufficient food and warmth. Some species infest buildings, even in northern climates. Most native North American cockroaches live in woodlands and are not pests.
Life Cycle
Female cockroaches lay packets of 12-25 eggs, and nymphs develop to maturity through simple metamorphosis.
Most (or all?) of the pest species are not North American natives, but world-wide human commensals of Old World origin. Penn State University lists four species as being common pests in that state:
German cockroach -- Blattella germanica
Brown-banded cockroach -- Supella longipalpa
Asian (Oriental) cockroach -- Blattella asahinai
American cockroach -- Periplaneta americana (despite its common name, of Old World origin)
Six species, including all four listed above, can achieve pest status in California (UC Davis).
Print References
Borror, entry for blatta (1).
Milne, pp. 391-394 (2)
Preston-Mafham (3)
Internet References
Urban Entomology(UC Riverside) life cycle and identification information for 16 species.
Terminix Pest Library - info on 12 species.
Penn State University-- American Cockroaches
Univ. California Davis--Cockroaches Management Guidelines
Works Cited
1.Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms
Donald J. Borror. 1960. Mayfield Publishing Company.
2.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. Knopf.
3.Grasshoppers and Mantids of the World
Ken Preston-Mafham. 1991. Facts on File, Inc.