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Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach is a large, wingless cockroach from Madagascar, an island off the coast of Africa. this insect probably lives on the forest floor in rotten logs and feeds on fallen fruit. The Madagascar hissing cockroach is a fascinating insect because of its unusual ability to produce sound. However, its unusual appearance and elaborate behavior also contribute to its appeal.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Madagascar hissing cockroach is approximately 2 to 4 inches long and weighs 1/4 to 7/8 ounces. The roach is heavily sclerotized, giving it a brownish or black color over the entire body. Immediately after the molting process, the MHC will exhibit a white coloration until the exoskeleton hardens. Unlike many other cockroaches, this species is wingless, but can run rather quickly. The male roach has two large tubercles (bumps) on the dorsal surface of the prothorax.

Madagascar hissing cockroach is an opportunistic feeder, often utilizing ripened fruits that fall to the rain forest floor in Madagascar. This fruit will provide much of the moisture required for the MHC; however, they occasionally drink dew from surrounding plants. Captive MHC enjoy a wide variety of foods including dry, processed foods for dogs, cats, fish, chickens, monkeys, and rats. Supplement the diet with fruits and vegetables, including orange slices, banana peels, carrots, apples, grapes, sweet potato peelings, and potato slices.

While many insects use sound, the Madagascar hissing cockroach has a unique way of producing its hisses. In this insect, sound is produced by forcibly expelling air through a pair of modified abdominal spiracles.Spiracles are breathing pores which are part of the respiratory system of insects. Because the spiracles are involved in respiration, this method of sound production is more typical of the respiratory sound made by the vertebrates. In contrast, most other insects produce sound by rubbing body parts or vibrating a membrane

Madagascar hissing cockroach

Madagascar hissing cockroach

Life Cycle: Madagascar hissing cockroach is long and differs some from most other cockroaches. Females are ovoviparous, that is, they give birth to live young. She carries the egg and neonate nymphs for approximately 60 days until they emerge as first instar nymphs. One female can produce as many as 30-60 nymphs. This insect has an incomplete life cycle: egg, nymphs and adult stage.The nymphs undergo 6 molts before reaching maturity in 7 months. The nymphs and adults are wingless and can live for 2 to 5 years.

Madagascar hissing cockroach is negatively phototactic (moves away from light) and, therefore, is nocturnal in activity. The MHC is also omnivorous (eats anything), but is strongly attracted to peanut butter, bananas, and oranges. When living in colonies, this species exhibits a definite social hierarchy. Males will establish and defend a territory on a rock or other similar structure for several months. He will leave it only for brief periods to obtain food and water. Female MHC are gregarious (form groups) and have not been observed to fight either among themselves or with males. Females and nymphs are allowed on the defended area that may harbor several adult females and an assortment of various-sized nymphs, but only one male.


When a male intrudes on a neighboring male’s territory, a fight will ensue. One male will attempt to push the other out of his territory. During the battle, a great deal of movement and hissing will occur; however, no harm is done to the loser. Mating behavior of the MHC is elaborate and involves posturing and hissing by the males to attract females.


Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

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