Project Description

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Gromphadorhina portentosa

Aquarium Location

Madagascar

Habitat

In the daytime, they hide under loose bark and tree holes. At night, they come out to forage on fallen fruit, fungi, decaying plant material, carcasses. Hissing cockroaches are most active after an evening rainfall.

Range

These cockroaches are only found on the island of Madagascar in both the dry forests and rainforests.

Diet

Hissing cockroaches are detritivores that forage on decaying plant material. They will also eat small insects and animal carcasses.

Fun Facts

When a hissing cockroach molts, a white, black-eyed roach emerges. The cockroach will eat the exoskeleton for nutrients.
These cockroaches make a “hissing” sound by pushing air forcefully through a pair of modified spiracles. The spiracles are openings in the abdomen that are normally used for breathing in insects.
The average lifespan of a hissing cockroach is 2-3 years, but in captivity they can live up to 5 years.
Some research suggests that hissing cockroaches will clump together to prevent water loss during the long tropical dry season in Madagascar.
Hissing cockroaches can create 5 distinct hisses. They will hiss when alarmed, during courtship, and to defend territory.

Cool Adaptation

A Hissing cockroach can tuck its head and antennae under its thorax to mimic the head of a large, aggressive animal.

Conservation Connection

Hissing cockroaches can be found in the forests of Madagascar; unfortunately, forest degradation and fragmentation are occurring in Madagascar. It’s important to conserve these forest habitats not only for the hissing cockroaches, but also for all of the animals that live in these habitats.