Cryptocercus Wood Roach IV


Crptocercus from the North Carolina Highlands Photo: David R Maddison

In his 1934 monograph, Cleveland considered the Viginia population of Cryptocercus and the Oregon/California population to be the same species based on morphological similarity. The application of DNA sequencing to taxonomy since 1990 has discovered marked genetic differences between the populations. A single species, split into two isolated populations drifts apart genetically over many generations. Each population keeps genetic changes that better adapt the population to local conditions. Over time, individuals from different populations accumulate enough genetic differences that mating between individuals is no longer successful. Substantial differences are noted in the Western and Eastern Cyrptocercus including chromosome number, symbionts and some morphological differences. Matings between individuals from eastern and western populations produced eggs but none that were viable. Thus, the western Cryptocercus is considered to be a separate species known as Cryptocercus clevelandi after LR Cleveland who did substantial investigation of Cryptocercus punctulatus.

The western population does not have a lot of genetic variation and is considered to be a single species. However, the Cryptocercus populations in the east have substantial genetic differences including chromosome number. Based on genetic analysis, Cryptocercus punctulatus is split into four (cryptic) species. The West Virginia and Virginia population studied by Cleveland is still Cryptocercus punctulatus. The population along the Tenneesee/North Carolina border is Cryptocercus wrighti. The population along the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky is Cryptocercus darwini. The Cryptocercus garciai population is in Northern Georgia.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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One Response to Cryptocercus Wood Roach IV

  1. Pingback: Living With Cryptocercus garciai | Living With Insects Blog

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