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Madagascar Giant Hissing Cockroach
Gromphadorhina portentosa

  • Habitat: Diverse habitats
  • Range: Madagascar
  • Natural Diet: Primarily vegetable matter
  • Status in the Wild: Common (Least Concern)


Fun Facts

  • Madagascar giant hissing cockroaches make an interesting hissing sound to deter predators. This sound is made by them by blowing air through their breathing openings called spiracles
  • You can distinguish between adult males and females since adult males have two hornlike structures on their heads
  • They do not have wings and hence are flightless
  • They reproduce in a unique fashion. The female creates a cacoon shaped egg case that carries approximately 60 eggs. Unlike female cockroaches of other species that lay the egg case, female hissers carry the egg case within their body delivering live young nymphs from the egg case
  • These nymphs grow in size by shedding their chitonous skin. They pass through 3 life stages through an incomplete form on metamorphosis - egg, nymph, and adulthood.


Hissing cockroaches live on the forest floor in Madagascar's lowland tropical rainforests

Madagascar Giant Hissing Cockroach Compared to males, females have slender antennae

Male hissing cockroaches look impressive with the horns that develop on their heads


Newly molted hissers are pale in color until their new exoskeleton hardens

Map             Distributional range            Hissing roaches are endemic to Madagascar, the island in black to the right of Africa.