Hissing Roach Gromphadorhina portentosa
The Madagascar hissing cockroach lives on forest floors and beneath rotten logs. Madagascar hissing
cockroaches feed on fallen fruit and decaying organic matter and can live as long as five years.
Growing up to three inches in length, the Madagascar hissing cockroach is one of the largest cockroach
The Madagascar hissing cockroach differs from other cockroach species in that it possesses horns and
is wingless. The female Madagascar hissing cockroach is also ovoviparous, giving birth to live young
rather than laying an ootheca. Females can produce as many as 60 nymphs.
The young Madagascar hissing cockroach stays in close contact with the female for an extended period
of time after birth. Nymphs undergo six molts in a span of approximately seven months before reaching
the adult stage. Both nymphs and adults are wingless, although they are excellent climbers. Males of
this species have larger horns and hairier antennae than females. They are also extremely aggressive
and are commonly seen fighting.
Madagascar hissing cockroaches hiss when disturbed or alarmed. They produce this sound by expelling
air though slits in the abdomen. The hiss of the Madagascar hissing cockroach is very loud and plays an
important role in colony hierarchy, courtship and communication.
Hissing cockroaches are omnivores which feed primarily upon vegetables and
other decaying organic matter. Hissing cockroaches can grow to reach three inches in length. Unlike
other species, the Madagascar hissing cockroach gives birth to live nymphs.
The Madagascar hissing cockroach is the only known insect species capable of hissing. While other
insects create sound by rubbing body parts together, the Madagascar hissing cockroach hisses by
releasing air from abdominal spiracles. These cockroaches produce two kinds of hisses: upon reaching a
certain developmental stage, all hissing cockroaches can produce the disturbance hiss, but only males
ever emit the fighting hiss. Male hissing cockroaches are very territorial and use their horns in