Madagascar Hissing Cockroach



roach on hand
 

Classification



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Blattodea
Family: Blaberidae
Genus: Gromphadorhina
Species: Gromphadorhina portentosa


Biology

Madagascar hissing cockroaches are large cockroaches (2-3 inches long and 1 inch wide), which are native to the island of Madagascar, off the coast of Africa.


Males look different from females (sexual dimorphism). Males have prominent protrusions on the thorax, which are called pronotal humps. Females have very small bumps or none, with a much smoother thorax. Males can also be differentiated from females by their brushier antennae.

Male and female roaches


Metamorphosis: Paurometabolous (gradual)

Egg, nymph, adult

Females appear to bear living young, but nymphs actually emerge from an egg case called ootheca. In most cockroach species the female drop the ootheca on the ground or deposit and glue it to something. In the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, the ootheca is retained within the body of the female until eggs hatch.
The nymphs molt six times during the course of their lives. At the last molt they become sexually mature adults. Adults never molt.


Behavior

Males establish territories and defend them from other adult males. Females are gregarious and do not fight.

As their name suggests, the Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches produce a hissing sound. That is accomplished by pushing air forcefully through a pair of modified spiracles, which are small openings through which air is taken into the trachea. Insects have several spiracles arranged along the sides of the thorax and abdomen.
When do they hiss?

  • Defense - to avoid predators and to defend territories
  • Communication - to signal danger, for example
  • Courtship and mating

Females and nymphs hiss only when disturbed.

Importance

Decomposers
Important source of food for other animals


Links

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Information Page: http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Entomology/entfacts/misc/ef014.htm

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Care Sheet: https://entomology.unl.edu/scilit/insect-rearing

Entomology News at Nebraska

Breaking Entomological News...

  • Samantha DanielGraduate student Samantha Daniel did an awesome job being interviewed  by KODY radio about overwintering insects!!  http://www.huskeradio.com/mugs-in-the-morning/.  Samantha is a master's student mentored by Dr. Julie Peterson.
  • Dr. John RubersonDr. Tom WeisslingCongrats to John Ruberson and Tom Weissling who were honored at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Family and Friends Recognition Awards. These awards are nominations by parents for faculty and staff who have a made a significant difference in the students’  lives. Tom has now been recognized twice with this award! Congratulations! And a big thank you to the thoughtful students and parents.
  • Dr. Jeff BradshawDr. Jeff Bradshaw was chosen as president-elect of the North Central Branch of the Entomology Society of America. Bradshaw is an associate professor of Entomology, extension specialist, and interim director of the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff. 
  • Entomology Alumna Jennifer Weisbrod was recently selected as the new Pesticide Safety Education Program coordinator in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. Weisbrod graduated with her master's degree in Entomology in 2020 and is taking the reins from her predecessor Clyde Ogg, emeritus extension educator.
  • Dr. Sylvana Paula-MoraesCongratulations to departmental alumna Dr. Silvana Paula-Moraes who was recently named the recipient of the 2021 Department of Entomology Alumni Recognition Award. She presented a online seminar in connection with the award on Monday, March 1, 2021.
  • 7 seal awardThe UNL Department of Entomology has been awarded the Seven Seals Award by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). The Seven Seals Award is presented in recognition of significant individual or organizational achievement, initiative, or support that promotes and supports the ESGR mission, to include the efforts of the more than 4,500 volunteers who carry out ESGR’s mission across the nation on a daily basis. The Entomology Department is fortunate to support Courtney Brummel and Sheldon Brummel in their service to the nation. Thanks for the nomination, Courtney and Sheldon!