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Dictyoptera includes three groups of polyneopterous insects - cockroaches (Blattaria), termites (Isoptera) and mantids (Mantodea). While all modern Dictyoptera have short ovipositor
The ovipositor is an organ used by some animals for oviposition, i.e., the laying of eggs. It consists of a maximum of three pairs of appendages formed to transmit the egg, to prepare a place for it, and to place it properly...

s, the oldest fossils of Dictyoptera have long ovipositors, much like members of the Orthoptera
Orthoptera is an order of insects with paurometabolous or incomplete metamorphosis, including the grasshoppers, crickets and locusts.Many insects in this order produce sound by rubbing their wings against each other or their legs, the wings or legs containing rows of corrugated bumps...


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
Cryptocercus is a genus of Dictyoptera in the family Polyphagidae, of which this genus is the only member. Species are known as wood roaches or brown-hooded cockroaches....

(Lo et al., 2000.).

Based on genetic evidence, the closest living relatives of the Dictyoptera are the phasmid
The Phasmatodea are an order of insects, whose members are variously known as stick insects , walking sticks or stick-bugs , phasmids, ghost insects and leaf insects...

s and the enigmatic groups Mantophasmatodea
Mantophasmatodea is a suborder of carnivorous African insects discovered in 2002, originally considered to be a new order, but since relegated to subordinal status, and comprising the single family Mantophasmatidae...

 and Grylloblattodea. If the Dictyoptera are considered a superorder these three orders might be included in it (Cameron et al., 2006).