Critter of the Week: Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

CONSERVATION STATUS

 

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM: ANIMALIA

PHYLUM: ARTHROPODA

CLASS: INSECTA

ORDER: BLATTODEA

FAMILY: BLABERIDAE

SUBFAMILY: OXYHALOINAE

TRIBE: GROMPHADORHININI

GENUS: GROMPHADORHINA

SPECIES: G. PORTENTOSA

BINOMIAL NAME: GROMPHADORHINA PORTENTOSA

 

RANGE


The Madagascar hissing cockroach is also known has a hissing cockroach or simply hissers. They are found in different parts of Madagascar, mainly in the rotting logs of forests and other moist, tropical regions.

 

Madagascar hissing cockroaches are one of the largest species of cockroaches growing up to three inches long!Madagascar hissing cockroaches have a smooth, shiny body with no wings and a single pair of antennae. Even though these insects are wingless, they are great climbers and can even scale a smooth layer of glass with no problem. The females and males look relatively similar; however, males have distinguished horns on the first section of their body and have fuller antennae.

 

The Madagascar hissing cockroach makes its characteristic hissing noise by forcefully expelling air through their respiratory openings. This is unique as most insects make noise by rubbing body parts together, such as crickets with their legs. They have three distinct hisses; one hiss is for warning, another hiss to attract females, and the third is an aggressive hiss used when fighting. Sometimes, the loudest hiss can determine the winning male in a fight.

 

 

 

Madagascar hissing cockroaches do not inhabit human dwellings, and instead spend their days on the forest floors in leaves, logs, and other hiding places. They have no offensive abilities and instead scavenge for food. Madagascar hissing cockroaches are omnivorous but mainly prefer to eat fruit or plants; however, these cockroaches have also been observed eating decaying organic matter.

 

 

 After mating, female Madagascar hissing cockroaches carry the nymphs inside their bodies for about two months in casings called oothecas, which house 20-60 nymphs. After the two months, the nymphs will hatch inside the mother and the mother hissing cockroach will give birth to live small, white babies. The mothers will stay with their nymphs until they reach maturity.