Hissing Cockroach

The Hissing Cockroach (Gromphadorhina oblongonota) is an insect in the roach family. It is also known as a Wide-Horned Hisser. 

The Hissing Cockroach is dark-brown to black with red-brown on its thick, waxy exo-skeleton.  It has orange-brown sections with small spots on each side. The male has thicker, hairier antennae than the female. The male also has horn-type structures on the pronotum (the front section of its thorax). Unlike most cockroaches, the Hissing Cockroach is wingless. It has 6 legs, with pads and hooks on its feet that enable it to climb. It can even climb smooth glass.

It measures up to 8 centimetres (3-4 inches) long. 

Hissing Cockroach (male)

The Hissing Cockroach is native to the island of Madagascar. It prefers to live amongst bark and leaf litter, and in rotting logs. 

It eats vegetation, such as rotting leaves. It is a detritivore. 

The Hissing Cockroach hisses. It expels air through its spiracles, which are respiratory openings in the skin all over its body that enable it to breathe. Spiracles are found on all segments of its abdomen, but the ones on the fourth segment make a hissing noise. The male and the female hiss. The male uses the hissing noise to attract a female, and when it fights other males. 

It lives in colonies. 

The female has an ootheca inside her body, which is an egg case carrying a mass of eggs, usually 30-60 eggs. The eggs hatch into nymphs inside her body after 60-70 days. The mother releases the nymphs from her body as live young. The nymphs grow into adult cockroaches after about 7 months. The young remain close to their mother for a few months after hatching.

The Hissing Cockroach lives up to 5 years. 

Hissing Cockroach (male)
Hissing Cockroach (male)

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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