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Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Gromphadorina portentosa

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About the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

conservation status: data deficient

Geographic Range:

range map

Class: Insecta
Order: Blattodea
Family: Blaberidae
Genus: Gromphadorina
Species: portentosa

The Madagascar hissing cockroach is named for its ability to force air through its spiracles (breathing holes) to create a loud hissing sound, a trick unique to this species. They're the loudest cockroaches in the world. This cockroach's hiss, used to scare off predators or to communicate with other cockroaches, can reach up to 90 decibels and can be heard at a distance of 12 feet!

These cockroaches measure between 2 and 3 inches. They're identified by their dark brown color with dark orange markings on the abdomen. They have an exoskeleton and are wingless – an uncommon attribute in the cockroach world. To tell the difference between males and females, look for “horns” behind the head for males and small bumps behind the head for females. Males also have furry antennae, whereas females' are smooth.

The Madagascar hissing cockroach is nocturnal – hiding during the day and becoming very active at night. They eat rotten, fallen fruit.

These insects are found on the forest floors of Madagascar, an island off the southeast coast of Africa.