Cockroaches (or roaches) are insects of the order Blattodea, which also includes termites. About 30 cockroach species out of 4,600 are associated with human habitats. Some species are well-known as pests.
The cockroaches are an ancient group, with ancestors originating during the Carboniferous period, some 300–350 million years ago. Those early ancestors, however, lacked the internal ovipositors of modern roaches. Cockroaches are somewhat generalized insects lacking special adaptations (such as the sucking mouthparts of aphids and other true bugs); they have chewing mouthparts and are probably among the most primitive of living Neopteran insects. They are common and hardy insects capable of tolerating a wide range of climates, from Arctic cold to tropical heat. Tropical cockroaches are often much larger than temperate species. Contrary to popular belief, extinct cockroach relatives (Blattoptera) and 'roachoids' such as the Carboniferous Archimylacris and Apthoroblattina were not as large as the biggest modern species.
Some species, such as the gregarious German cockroach, have an elaborate social structure involving common shelter, social dependence, information transfer and kin recognition. Cockroaches have appeared in human culture since classical antiquity. They are popularly depicted as dirty pests, although the majority of species are inoffensive and live in a wide range of habitats around the world.
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