Hissing Cockroach 1

Madagascan Hissing Cockroach

Scientific name: Gromphadorhina portentosa


As their name suggests, Madagascan hissing cockroaches are found on the island of Madagascar and are famous for their hiss!

The males have impressive horns that are used for fighting and ramming their opponent. Winning males often hiss more than the losers, therefore the hissing sound may be used to determine hierarchy. They will also hiss during mating and as an alarm call. The sound is created by pushing air through modified abdominal spiracles. Spiracles are breathing pores which are part of the respiratory system of all insects.

Madagascan hissing cockroaches have several litters of offspring each year. Cockroaches are ‘ovoviviparous’, the female creates a cocoon-like egg case called an ootheca inside her body and then bears live young. As many as 60 nymphs can be born at one time!

Least Concern (Inc. Bar)
  1. We live...

    In the Reptile House, next to the meerkats.

  1. Size Fact

    They are one of the largest species of cockroach.

  2. Food Fact

    Cockroaches will eat a variety of food, from decaying fruit and vegetable matter to carrion (dead meat). They are known as the ‘cleaners of the forest floor.’

  3. Fun Fact

    Dominant males show off by standing up on their toes – this is called ‘stilting’

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