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Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Gromphadorhina portentosa
  • Class

  • Order

  • Range

    Found in Madagascar.

  • Status


  • Habitat

    These insects are found along the floor of tropical rainforests near riverbanks, around logs, or on trees. They hide under forest debris during the day.

  • Niche

    Like most cockroaches, they are active only at night and hide under debris, under logs, or in tree bark during the day. One adult male defends a territory around several adult females. He courts and mates within this territory. Other adult males are not allowed to enter the territory and aggressive hissing and posturing behaviors are used to warn intruders away. Madagascar hissing cockroaches consume rotting plants, fallen fruits, and even some decaying animal matter on the forest floor.

  • Life History

    Between 15 and 40 baby cockroaches-called nymphs-hatch from eggs stored inside their mother's body. About 30 minutes later, they are capable of independent movement. They undergo around six molts before reaching maturity at about 7 months old.

  • Special Adaptations

    • Unique breathing holes allow the cockroaches to produce a loud, snake-like hiss to startle predators, such as birds and mammals.
    • Large bumps behind their heads are used as battering rams to fight other cockroaches.
    • Bacteria in their digestive system allow them to eat a large variety of plant materials, including wood.


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