Dictyoptera (from Ancient Greek diktuon "net" + pteron "wing") is an insect superorder that includes two orders of polyneopterous insects - the termites and cockroaches (both order: Blattaria) along with the mantids (order: Mantodea). While all modern Dictyoptera have short ovipositors, the oldest fossils of Dictyoptera have long ovipositors, much like members of the Orthoptera.
The use of the term Dictyoptera has changed over the years, and while largely out of use for much of the last century, it is becoming more widely used. It has usually been considered a superorder, with Isoptera, Blattaria and Mantodea being its three orders. In some classifications, however, Dictyoptera is shifted to order status and in others the class Isoptera has been subsumed under Blattaria while retaining Dictyoptera as a superorder. Regardless, in all classifications the constituent groups are the same, just treated at different rank. Termites and cockroaches are very closely related, with ecological and molecular data pointing to a relationship with the cockroach genus Cryptocercus (Lo et al., 2000.).
Based on genetic evidence, the closest living relatives of the Dictyoptera are the phasmids and the enigmatic groups Mantophasmatodea and Grylloblattodea. If the Dictyoptera are considered a superorder these three orders might be included in it (Cameron et al., 2006).
Mantodea (or mantises, mantes) is an order of insects that contains over 2,400 valid species and about 430 genera in 15 families worldwide in temperate and tropical habitats. Most of the species are in the family Mantidae.
The English common name for any species in the order is "praying mantis", because of the typical "prayer-like" posture with folded fore-limbs, although the eggcorn "preying mantis" is sometimes used in reference to their predatory habits. In Europe and other regions, the name "praying mantis" refers to only a single species, Mantis religiosa. The closest relatives of mantises are the termites and cockroaches (order Blattodea). They are sometimes confused with phasmids (stick/leaf insects) and other elongated insects such as grasshoppers and crickets.