Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Facts

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Madagascar hissing cockroaches are wingless and get their name from their ability to compress air out of their abdomen to create a hissing sound. Discover facts about Madagascar hissing cockroaches with information from a published biologist in this free video on insects and invertebrates.

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Video Transcript

Here we have a male and female Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. Their scientific name is portentosa. They are endemic to only the island of Madagascar and they like to live on the floor of tropical forests, near riverbanks, and around logs or fallen trees. Unlike most roaches, it's very interesting that they are wingless and their bodies can be up to two to three inches with a one inch diameter. You can tell the male apart from the female, as he possesses these antler like horns. These horns are used during mating to have competitions with other males, in the same form that you would see antlers used. They also have this beautiful color, this brilliant orange that comes about as they get older. As juveniles they're usually a solid black color. Mating between these species occurs year round and the female, when she's ready to attract a mate, will give off a scent that lets him know that she's ready to mate. The female will carry sixty eggs inside of her in a one inch, yellowish, egg case. When they are ready and developed, after about sixty days, they will hatch and she will give live birth. These guys will eat various plants and decaying animal matter, and they're very interesting. They get their name from their ability to compress air out their abdomen, through sphericals and create a hissing sound. They also, when they feel threatened, they will hiss, but they will also spit as well. They have this very cool mutualism with a mite species that lives in their under shell. The mite species keeps them clean and they also eat the food that the roaches eat.


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