Habitat Specificity

Sorting out habitat specificity in a secretive taxon like cockroaches is a daunting task. Although some species are known to be habitat specific and have associated morphological, physiological, behavioral, and life history modifications, many are much more flexible in their living conditions. Of 19 examined habitats that contained cockroaches in a reserve in northeastern Florida, Parco-blatta virginica, Parc. lata, and Arenivaga floridensis were each found in just one habitat, and five cockroach species were found only in structures (Fig. 3.1) (Friauf, 1953). Cariblatta lutea, on the other hand, was found in 15 of the habitats, and nymphs of this species have also been recorded from the burrows of small vertebrates (Hubbell and Goff, 1939). In Jamaica Car. lutea is found in leaf litter, under debris of every kind, in dead agaves, and in bromeliads (Hebard, 1916a). Even closely related cockroaches may vary widely in habitat choice (Table 3.1), making the detection of phylogenetic trends problematic.

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