Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
Hissing cockroaches live in colonies with all ages and both sexes. Males tend to be larger than females and have a pair of horns on their head used to fight other males. When disturbed, this insect emits a loud hiss to startle potential predators. Hissing is also used in mating. The roach creates the sound by forcing air out of its abdominal air holes (called spiracles). The hiss is 90 decibels—equivalent to the sound made by a lawnmower or hair dryer!
Hissing cockroaches eat leaf litter and fallen fruit in the forest.
Mating can occur all year long. Females emit a scent to attract males. The females will then carry eggs around a pouch of eggs for about 60 days. The eggs hatch while they are still inside. The female gives birth to anywhere from 30 to 60 live nymphs, which will reach maturity in seven months. This species of cockroach can live two to five years.
Population Status & Threats
The hissing cockroach is classified as an animal of least concern. It is a widespread and fairly common species and there are no known immediate threats to its population levels.
WCS Conservation Efforts
The Wildlife Conservation Society has worked in Madagascar since 1990, helping to protect its coastal, marine, and dry forests. WCS has partnered with the Malagasy government and local communities to create protected areas and is working to develop new approaches to support conservation and livelihoods. Learn more about WCS work in Madagascar.
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