Deserts

Females of desert cockroach species are generally apterous or brachypterous, but males are fully alate (Rehn, 1932b). The high cost of desiccation during flight may ac count for many cases of wing reduction in desert insects (Dingle, 1996), but may be less of a problem for night-active insects like many Blattaria. Rehn (1932b) noted that the number of brachypterous and subapterous cockroaches in deserts was comparable to that of humid rainforest areas of tropical America. It has been suggested that the strong tendency for wing reduction among all families of Australian cockroaches (Mackerras, 1965a) is a response to desert conditions (Chopard, in Rehn, 1932b). Almost all of the large Australian group Polyzosteriinae are brachypterous or apterous, but not all live in the desert. Scabina antipoda, for example, is brachyterous and found under bark in the rainforests of eastern Australia (Roach and Rentz, 1998).

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