Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Basic Information:

Scientific Name: Gromphadorhina portentosa

Habitat: Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches live in the rainforest on the island of Madagascar, which is located off the east coast of Africa.

Diet: Madagascar hissing cockroaches are detritivores, meaning their diet consists of fresh or rotting fruits, vegetables and leaves.

Size: 0.2 to 0.3 feet long

Weight: Less than 0.1 pound

Lifespan: 1 to 3 years

Distribution Map:

I.U.C.N. Conservation Status:

What does this mean?

Least Concern – a species determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (I.U.C.N.) to be pervasive, abundant, and thriving.

About Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches:

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are one of the largest species of cockroaches in the world. Like all cockroaches, this species is a detritivore meaning that it its rotting or dead material and then returns nutrients to the soil. However, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are unique in that they are wingless. They also get their name due to the “hissing” sound that they make in an attempt to scare off predators and other threats. They are also easily recognizable due to the fact that they are commonly used in Hollywood films when cockroaches are needed for a scene. This is because they are large enough to be seen on camera easily and because they are generally very calm, docile, and easy to work with. 

Did You Know?!

  • Males hissing cockroaches have “horns” which are located on their prothorax, or the front most thorax on their body. Females do not.
  • Hissing cockroaches get their name from their ability to hiss. They make this sound by pushing air through spiracles, or tiny holes on their exoskeleton which they typically use to breathe through.
  • Hissing cockroaches have special pads on their feet, along with spines on their legs, that help them cling onto almost anything. They can even climb smooth surfaces such as large rocks or glass.
  • Hissing cockroaches are ovoviviparous: the female’s eggs hatch inside her body and she essentially gives birth to live young. Females have a special pouch on their bodies that holds the eggs for about two months, until they are ready to hatch.
  • Female hissing cockroaches are quite friendly amongst one another and actually form colonies where females and males coexist.

The Utica Zoo will be closed at 1:00pm on 6/1 for wine in the wilderness and will reopen with normal hours on 6/2!