Woodroaches of the genus Cryptocercus are subsocial and xylophagous cockroaches, distributed in North America and Asia. Studies on male chromosome number in Nearctic species have shown that diploid numbers vary from 2n=37 to 2n=47; numbers from Palearctic species were heretofore unknown. Two hypotheses have been proposed to explain the varying number of chromosomes among Nearctic species: the serial reduction hypothesis, and the parallel scenario. We performed phylogenetic analyses of the COII gene in these species and found evidence for the topology (47(45(43(39,37), which is congruent with the serial reduction hypothesis. We also determined chromosome numbers for the first time in Palearctic species, and found Cryptocercus primarius and Cryptocercus relictus to have relatively low chromosome numbers (2n=17–21) compared to their Nearctic relatives. Finally, our study determined the phylogenetic position of Cryptocercus primarius among other Asian taxa.
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