Dictyoptera (from Ancient Greek diktuon "net" + pteron "wing") includes three groups of polyneopterous insects - cockroaches (Blattaria), termites (Isoptera) and mantids (Mantodea). While all modern Dictyoptera have short ovipositors, the oldest fossils of Dictyoptera have long ovipositors, much like members of the Orthoptera.
The use of the term Dictyoptera has changed over the years, and while largely out of use for much of the last century, it is becoming more widely used. It is usually considered a superorder, with Isoptera, Blattaria and Mantodea being its three orders. In some classifications, however, Dictyoptera is shifted to order status. Regardless, in all classifications the three constituent groups are the same, just treated at different rank. Termites and cockroaches are very closely related, with ecological and molecular data pointing to a relationship with the cockroach genus Cryptocercus (Lo et al., 2000.).
Based on genetic evidence, the closest living relatives of the Dictyoptera are the phasmids and the enigmatic groups Mantophasmatodea and Grylloblattodea. If the Dictyoptera are considered a superorder these three orders might be included in it (Cameron et al., 2006).
- Cameron, Stephen L.; Barker, Stephen C. & Whiting, Michael F. (2006): Mitochondrial genomics and the new insect order Mantophasmatodea. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 38: 274?279. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.09.020 (HTML abstract)
- Lo, N., G. Tokuda, H. Watanabe, H. Rose, M. Slaytor, K. Maekawa, C. Bandi, and H. Noda. 2000. Evidence from multiple gene sequences indicates that termites evolved from wood-feeding cockroaches. Current Biology 10(13):801-804.
- Inward, D., G. Beccaloni, and P. Eggleton. 2007. Death of an order: a comprehensive molecular phylogenetic study confirms that termites are eusocial cockroaches. Biology Letters 3:331-335. 
The Order Dictyoptera is further organized into finer groupings including:
- Family (1): Blatellidae
- Species: ZipcodeZoo has pages for 55 species and subspecies in the Order Dictyoptera.
At least 8 species and subspecies belong to the Family Blatellidae.
More info about the Family Blatellidae may be found here.
- Cameron, Stephen L.; Barker, Stephen C. & Whiting, Michael F. (2006): Mitochondrial genomics and the new insect order Mantophasmatodea. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 38: 274–279. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.09.020 (HTML abstract)
- Photographs on this page are copyrighted by individual photographers, and individual copyrights apply.
- The technology underlying this page, including the controls behind Keep Exploring, is owned by the BayScience Foundation. All rights are reserved.