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Review Article
Published: 2014-01-20

Ice Crawlers (Grylloblattodea) – the history of the investigation of a highly unusual group of insects

Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie, FSU Jena, 07743 Jena, Germany
Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie, FSU Jena, 07743 Jena, Germany, Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Box 92, No. 1, Beichen West Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100101, China
Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Department of Life Sciences, University of Siena, Via Aldo Moro 2, 53100 Siena, Italy
Yokosuka City Museum, Fukadadai 95, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 238-0016, Japan
Sugadaira Montane Research Center, University of Tsukuba, Sugadaira Kogen, Ueda, Nagano 386-2204, Japan
College of Life Sciences, Capital Normal University, Beijing, 100037, China; Freiberg University of Mining and Technology, Institute of Geology, Department of Palaeontology, D-09599 Freiberg, Germany
Ph. D. (Professor), Institut für Spezielle Zoologie and Evolutionsbiologie, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Jena, GERMANY
Grylloblattodea history diversity habitats morphology phylogeny fossils reproduction development

Abstract

Grylloblattodea are one of the most unusual groups of insects and the second smallest order. All known extant species are wingless and exhibit a remarkable preference for cold temperatures. Although their morphology was intensively investigated shortly after their discovery, the systematic position has been disputed for a long time. The placement of Grylloblattodea as sister-group to the recently described Mantophasamtodea is supported by morphological and molecular evidence. However, the relationships of this clade, Xenonomia, among the polyneopteran lineages is not clear. Transcriptome analyses, in addition to the study of winged grylloblattodean fossils, may help to clarify the position of Xenonomia and aid in the reconstruction of the “phylogenetic backbone” of Polyneoptera.