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      The Neotropical ‘polymorphic earless praying mantises’ - Part I: molecular phylogeny and revised higher-level systematics (Insecta: Mantodea, Acanthopoidea) : Phylogeny of polymorphic earless praying mantises

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      Systematic Entomology

      Wiley-Blackwell

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          Death of an order: a comprehensive molecular phylogenetic study confirms that termites are eusocial cockroaches.

          Termites are instantly recognizable mound-builders and house-eaters: their complex social lifestyles have made them incredibly successful throughout the tropics. Although known as 'white ants', they are not ants and their relationships with other insects remain unclear. Our molecular phylogenetic analyses, the most comprehensive yet attempted, show that termites are social cockroaches, no longer meriting being classified as a separate order (Isoptera) from the cockroaches (Blattodea). Instead, we propose that they should be treated as a family (Termitidae) of cockroaches. It is surprising to find that a group of wood-feeding cockroaches has evolved full sociality, as other ecologically dominant fully social insects (e.g. ants, social bees and social wasps) have evolved from solitary predatory wasps.
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            Mecoptera is paraphyletic: multiple genes and phylogeny of Mecoptera and Siphonaptera

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              Evidence from multiple gene sequences indicates that termites evolved from wood-feeding cockroaches.

              Despite more than half a century of research, the evolutionary origin of termites remains unresolved [1] [2] [3]. A clear picture of termite ancestry is crucial for understanding how these insects evolved eusociality, particularly because they lack the haplodiploid genetic system associated with eusocial evolution in bees, ants, wasps and thrips [4] [5]. Termites, together with cockroaches and praying mantids, constitute the order Dictyoptera, which has been the focus of numerous conflicting phylogenetic studies in recent decades [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]. With the aim of settling the debate over the sister-group of termites, we have determined the sequences of genes encoding 18S ribosomal RNA, mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit II (COII) and endogenous endo-beta-1, 4-glucanase (EG) from a diverse range of dictyopterans. Maximum parsimony and likelihood analyses of these sequences revealed strong support for a clade consisting of termites and subsocial, wood-feeding cockroaches of the genus Cryptocercus. This clade is nested within a larger cockroach clade, implicating wood-feeding cockroaches as an evolutionary intermediate between primitive non-social taxa and eusocial termites.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Systematic Entomology
                Syst Entomol
                Wiley-Blackwell
                03076970
                July 2016
                July 2016
                : 41
                : 3
                : 607-649
                Article
                10.1111/syen.12178
                © 2016
                Product
                Self URI (article page): http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/syen.12178

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