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They are common and hardy insects, and can tolerate a wide range of environments from Arctic cold to tropical heat.Tropical cockroaches are often much bigger than temperate species, and, contrary to popular belief, extinct cockroach relatives and 'roachoids' such as the Carboniferous Archimylacris and the Permian Apthoroblattina were not as large as the biggest modern species.
About 30 cockroach species out of 4,600 are associated with human habitats. The cockroaches are an ancient group, dating back at least as far as the Carboniferous period, some 320 million years ago.
The world's heaviest cockroach is the Australian giant burrowing cockroach Macropanesthia rhinoceros, which can reach 9 cm (3.5 in) in length and weigh more than 30 g (1.1 oz).
Cockroaches are generalized insects, with few special adaptations, and may be among the most primitive living neopteran insects.
A recent phylogenetic analysis suggests that cockroaches originated at least in the Jurassic.
The cockroach families Lamproblattidae and Tryonicidae are not shown but are placed within the superfamily Blattoidea.