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Animals & Habitats
Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
Scientific Name
Gromphadorhina portentosa
Conservation Status
Not Evaluated

Hissing and Stilting

The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach is able to communicate through “hissing” noises through breathing spiracles located on its abdomen. This species primarily “hisses” to establish territories and to ward off other male competitors. Researchers have identified multiple amplitude patterns that include: combat hissing, alarm hissing and courtship/mating hissing.

Battle of the Cockroaches

Typically, the largest male in a group who hisses more than other males wins any territory disputes. Along with hissing, the male will posture by standing on his toes a little taller as a form of intimidation towards other males. This posturing is called “stilting.”


Male and female cockroaches can be distinguished by the size of the pronatal humps that are present. A male has more pronounced humps than a female.

Recyclers of the Rainforest

Hissing cockroaches are classified as detritivores. They consume decaying fruits, vegetables and plant material along with smaller insects and carrion. This form of consumption is highly beneficial for the planet and makes the cockroach a natural recycler.