LIFE: Madagascar hissing cockroaches are very large
cockroaches and are about 2 to 3 inches long and 1
inch wide (Franklin Park Zoo, 2020). They are oval-shaped
with a shiny brown coloration on the topside of
their body. To distinguish between male and female,
people look at their thorax. The males possess large
horn-like bumps called pronotal humps. Males are also
more territorial and tend to fight unlike females. Both
can hiss, but the males hissing are usually louder.
During reproduction the female hissing cockroach
creates an egg-like sac called an ootheca that is held
within the body until the eggs hatch. These hatchlings
are called Nymphs and they reach sexual maturity on
the last of the sixth molt.
HABITAT and RANGE: These cockroaches are
native to the island of Madagascar, which is an island
off the southeastern coast of Africa. Madagascar cockroaches lay beneath fallen leaves and rotting logs during the day,
and they scavenge for food at night.
DIET: Madagascar hissing cockroaches are
omnivorous as they eat mainly fruits, animal carcasses,
and other plant materials. They help get rid of
decaying matter which is vital to our ecosystem.
CONSERVATION STATUS: The Madagascar
hissing cockroach is on the least concern list.
SOURCE: Franklin Park Zoo. Madagascar Hissing
Cockroach. (2020). Retrieved August 7, 2020, from
Life History of Hartman Reserve’s
Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches
Hartman Reserves Nature Center’s Madagascar
hissing cockroaches came from Polk County
Conservation in 2019 to be a part of our educational
team. We can distinguish between males and females
because male Madagascar hissing cockroaches have
little bumps on the top of their head that resembles
tiny horns, and females are flatter. Continue reading to
learn more about these animal ambassadors!
SCIENTIFIC NAME: GROMPHADORHINA PORTENTOSA
This project was developed by Skyla Harger. She served as our AmeriCorps summer intern in 2020.