Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
Males can be told from females by their horns which are located just behind their heads. The males claim small territories, which they defend from other males through posturing, hissing, and pushing with their horns.
Females and young are free to come and go between dominant males’ territories. Females give birth to live young, or nymphs. These nymphs must shed their exoskeletons 6 times before they become adults.
Hissing cockroaches are often raised as feeder insects for reptiles and other insectivores. They are also kept as unique pets.
Hissing cockroaches are large wingless insects from Madagascar, an island off the coast of Africa. They
live in the leaf litter on the tropical forest floor. They get their name from the sound that they make. They use this sound as a form of communication, as well as to intimidate potential predators. While most insects create sound by rubbing body parts together, or vibrating membranes the hissing cockroaches have a unique way of producing their hiss. Spiracles, or breathing tubes, line their abdomens. Most of these tubes simply allow air to enter the body and carbon dioxide to leave it. The roaches don’t actively breath. One pair of these spiracles, however, is modified to include small air sacks that can force air through the tubes, producing the loud hissing sound.