Blattodea ('true' cockroaches and termites) are orthopteroids with incomplete metamorphosis. To date 4,585 species of cockroaches and 2,929 species of termites have been named.

Ancestors of the Blattodea go back some time, with cockroach-like species originating as far back as the Upper Carboniferous period some 315 million years ago.

Some physical characteristics of 'true' cockroaches include:

  • dorsoventrally flattened body
  • multisegmented antennae
  • usually well-developed compound eyes
  • often two ocelli (simple single-lens eyes) present
  • ventrally directed mouthparts
  • forewings slightly thickened to protect hindwings
  • abdomen with 10 visible segments
  • Termites

    Termites are an epifamily of cockroaches containing some 2,900 species in seven families.

Why 'true' cockroaches

Termites are social cockroaches. Recent studies have shown that the termites are actually a lineage of Blattodea (epifamily Termitoidae) and not a separate order. 'True' cockroaches refers the six families of cockroaches known before this discovery.