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Title: Grylloblattidae  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Notoptera, Insect, Xerophile, Thermophile, Pyrococcus furiosus
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Temporal range: Triassic–Recent
Galloisiana nipponensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Notoptera[2]
Suborder: Grylloblattodea
Family: Grylloblattidae
E. M. Walker, 1914


Grylloblattidae is a family of extremophile (psychrophile) and wingless insects that live in the cold on top of mountains. It belongs, along with Mantophasmatidae, to the order Notoptera.[2]


Galloisiana nipponensis

They are commonly called grylloblattids, but are also sometimes called ice crawlers or icebugs. Their appearance evidently puzzled the scientists who discovered them, E.M. Walker and T.B. Kurata; the first species named was Grylloblatta campodeiformis, which means "cricket-cockroach shaped like a Campodea" (a kind of two-pronged bristletail). Most are nocturnal and appear to feed on detritus. They have long antennae (23–45 segments) and long cerci (5–8 segments), but no wings. Their closest living relatives are the recently discovered Mantophasmatodea.[3]

The family is placed in its own suborder, Grylloblattodea, and in its own former[2] order, Grylloblattaria. It contains 5 genera and 34 species.[4][5]


Grylloblattodea are nocturnal extremophiles typically found in leaf litter and under stones in extremely cold environments, usually at higher elevations. They are known to inhabit cold temperate forests to glaciers and ice sheets. Their optimal living temperature is between 1-4°C (33.8-39.2°F). They can be killed at colder temperatures due to ice formation in the body, so when the temperature drops below their optimal range they survive by living under snow pack near the soil.[6]


They are omnivorous, but feed primarily on deceased arthropods. When arthropod carcasses are scarce, their diet relies heavily on plant material.[6]


  1. ^ H. V. Hoell, J. T. Doyen & A. H. Purcell (1998). Introduction to Insect Biology and Diversity (2nd ed.).  
  2. ^ a b c Arillo, A. & M. Engel (2006) Rock Crawlers in Baltic Amber (Notoptera: Mantophasmatodea). American Museum Novitates 3539:1-10
  3. ^ Stephen L. Cameron, Stephen C. Barker & Michael F. Whiting (2006). "Mitochondrial genomics and the new insect order Mantophasmatodea".  
  4. ^ Terry L. Erwin (1997). "Biodiversity at its utmost: tropical forest beetles". In Marjorie L. Reaka-Kudla, Don E. Wilson &  
  5. ^ Zhang, Z.-Q. (2011). "Phylum Arthropoda von Siebold, 1848 In: Zhang, Z.-Q. (Ed.) Animal biodiversity: An outline of higher-level classification and survey of taxonomic richness". Zootaxa 3148: 99–103. 
  6. ^ a b David Grimaldi, Michael S. Engel (2005). "Polyneoptera: Grylloblattodea: The Ice Crawlers". Evolution of the Insects. New York City: Cambridge University Press. pp. 222–224.  

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Data related to Grylloblattidae at Wikispecies
  • Video of a walking grylloblattid
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