Giant Madagasca Hissing Cockroach

AnnDixon

Chester, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

To show the actual size (3inches) of these Creatures this is on Michaela’s hand

(Gromphadorhina portentosa), also known as the Hissing Roach or simply Hisser, is one of the largest species of cockroach, reaching 2–4 inches at maturity. They are from the island of Madagascar off the African coast, where they can be found in rotting logs.
Unlike most cockroaches, they are wingless. They are excellent climbers and can scale smooth glass. Males can be distinguished from females by their thicker, hairier antennae and the pronounced “horns” on the pronotum. Females carry the ootheca (egg case) internally, and release the young nymphs only after the eggs have hatched. As in some other wood roaches, the parents and offspring will commonly remain in close physical contact for extended periods of time. In captivity, these insects can live 5 years. They feed primarily on vegetable material.

The Madagascar cockroach has become characterized by its hissing sound, large size, and appearance. Their nickname, “hissing cockroach”, is due to their ability to force gas through the breathing pores (spiracles) found on each segment of their thorax and abdomen. The Madagascar hissing cockroach is believed to be the only insect that can hiss in this exact manner, as most insects that make a “hissing” sound do so by rubbing together various body parts. (Some long-horned beetles, e.g., the Giant Fijian long-horned beetle, can squeeze air out from under their elytra, but this does not involve the spiracles). This hiss takes three forms: the disturbance hiss, the female-attracting hiss, and the fighting hiss. All cockroaches from the fourth instar (fourth molting cycle) and older are capable of the disturbance hiss. Only males use the fighting hiss; they use it when challenged by other males. This establishes a dominance hierarchy by one of the males backing down and the fight being over. Males hiss more often than females.

Artwork Comments

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