Madagascar hissing cockroach in exhibit

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Scientific Name
Gromphadorhina portentosa
Geographic Range
Fruit and other plant materials
Madagascar hissing cockroach in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Not Listed Endangered Status Graph - Not Listed

About This Animal

Madagascar hissing cockroaches are a large species of cockroach, measuring 2–3 inches long and weighing up to 0.8 ounces. They are brown and yellow in color with a shiny exoskeleton and a lighter-hued abdomen. These insects are wingless and have one set of antennae.

These cockroaches are known for the hissing sound they make by exhaling air through their breathing holes, which is an unusual way for invertebrates to make sound. The sound is used in mating rituals and as an alarm cry. They tend to live in forests and are more active at night, when they do most of their scavenging. Unlike most cockroach species, they do not live in human dwellings and are not considered pests.

The species lives in colonies and have a life span of two to five years. Males can be aggressive to one another, ramming into each other with their horns. Winners hiss more than losers, which may indicate that the hissing helps determine hierarchies inside their colonies. Females bear live young; they create a cocoon-like egg case, an ootheca, to carry eggs and neonatal nymphs simultaneously within their bodies. They can birth 60 offspring at one time.

Current population trends regarding Madagascar hissing cockroaches are unknown.

Species Survival Plan logo

Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

Learn More

Animal Care staff working with seal

Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

Learn More

Support Your Zoo

Two Chilean flamingos in exhibit

Animals Depend On People Too

When you ADOPT an animal, you support world-class animal care by helping to provide specially formulated diets, new habitat elements, and regular veterinary checkups.

Adopt an Animal

Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

Wish List

The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy.

Browse the Wish List

African penguin eating a fish

Take Action With Us

Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

Take Action

Empty Playlist