Cockroaches Species and care :
- Madagascar hissing cockroach
Madagascar hissing cockroach
Associations with other animals
The mite species Gromphadorholaelaps schaeferi lives on this species of cockroach along the undersides and bases of the legs and takes some of its host's food as well as consuming particulates along the host's body. As these mites do not harm the cockroaches they live upon, they arecommensals, not parasites, unless they build up to abnormal levels and start starving their host. Recent studies have shown that these mites also may have beneficial qualities for the cockroaches, in that they clean the surfaces of the cockroaches of pathogenic mold spores, which in turn increases the life expectancy of the cockroaches.
The Madagascar hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa), also known as the hissing cockroach or simply hisser, is one of the largest species of cockroach, reaching 2 to 3 inches (5.1–7.6 cm) at maturity. They are native to the island of Madagascar, which is off the African mainland, where they are known to be found inside of rotting logs. It is one of some 20 known species of large hissing roaches from Madagascar, many of which are kept as pets, and often confused with one another by pet dealers; in particular, G. portentosa is commonly confused withG. oblongonota and G. picea.
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 very pronounced "horns" on the pronotum. Females carry the ootheca internally, and release the young nymphs only after her offspring have eclosed within her. As in some other wood-inhabiting roaches, the parents and offspring will commonly remain in close physical contact for extended periods of time. In captivity, these insects have been known to live up to 5 years. They feed primarily on vegetable material.
Female Madagascar hissing cockroach
Scientific classification :
The Madagascar hissing cockroach has been known to be featured in Hollywood movies, prominently in Bug (1975) as cockroaches who could set fires by rubbing their legs together and, in Damnation Alley (1977), as post-nuclear-war mutant armor-plated "killer" cockroaches. InStarship Troopers, a movie about a war against an enemy called "The Bugs," a teacher is shown encouraging her students to step on this species as part of a TV propaganda broadcast.
A Madagascar hissing cockroach was used by artist Garnet Hertz as the driver of a mobile robotic artwork. They were used in the reality television series Fear Factor. The species also made an appearance in the movie Men In Black in 1997. This was later parodied in the comedyTeam America: World Police (2004), where one emerges from Kim Jong-il's body after his death, enters a tiny spaceship, and flies away.
Madagascar hissing cockroaches were used in the Criminal Minds episode "The Itch" by the unsub who used them on his victims to share his psychosis that they had morgellons before killing them.
As the common name suggests, the Madagascar hissing cockroach is characterized by their hissing sound, which is produced when they forcefully expel air through the specially-adapted respiratory openings (spiracles) on the fourth segment of their body, though spiracles are found on all segments of their abdomen. The Madagascar hissing cockroach is only one member of a group of roaches that can hiss; this exact mode of sound production is atypical, as most insects that make sound do so by rubbing together various body parts ("stridulation"), such as legs. Somelong-horned beetles, e.g., the giant Fijian long-horned beetle, hiss by squeezing air out from under their elytra, but this does not involve the spiracles. In hissing roaches, the hiss takes three forms: the disturbance hiss, the female-attracting hiss, and the aggressive fighting hiss. All cockroaches from the fourth instar (fourth molting cycle) and older are capable of the disturbance hiss. Only males use the female-attracting hiss and fighting hiss; the latter is used when challenged by other males (males will establish a dominance hierarchy, and a submissive male will back down to end a fight).
In September 2006, amusement park Six Flags Great America announced that it would be granting unlimited line-jumping privileges for all rides to anyone who could eat a live Madagascar hissing cockroach as part of a Halloween-themed FrightFest. Furthermore, if a contestant managed to beat the previous world record (eating 36 cockroaches in 1 minute), he would receive season passes for four people during the 2007 season. This is a difficult record to break because raw cockroaches contain a mild neurotoxin that numbs the mouth and makes it difficult to swallow. The promotion ended on October 29, 2006.
In January 2016, Bronx Zoo held a roach-naming program themed for Valentine's Day, allowing their cockroaches to be named by benefactors. Funds raised were donated to Wildlife Conservation Society.
Madagascar's cockroaches can be kept as exotic pets. They require a small living area with an area for them to hide because they do not like the light. Due to their propensity to climb, the living area must be tested to see if they can climb it as they do in their natural environment. Fish tanks with screens work best but it is also wise to coat the first few inches with petroleum jelly to keep them from getting out of the habitat that they are kept in. They can live on fresh vegetables along with any kind of pellet food that is high in protein, such as dry dog food.
In the USA, some states require permits before this species can be kept as a pet or in breeding colonies. The state of Florida requires such a permit. In fact, during outreach programs, the University of Florida's Department of Entomology and Nematology, which has such a permit, allows only males to be taken out of the laboratory. This is to prevent the possible introduction of a pregnant female into the environment.
References & External links ( Click here to read the Wikipedia Article )
16 reasons why giant madagascar hissing cockroaches (Gromphadorhina portentosa) make good pets
Origin. Madagascar (just off the east coast of Africa) abounds with fascinating critters. Hissing roaches live on their forest floors and eat vegetation and whatever else falls to the floor. They digest it like our dogs and earthworms and help build their soil.
1. They do not bite you, scratch you, or leave dead mice on your pillow. Nor do they confuse your leg with a sexual partner.
2. Their slow, indeed downright torpid movement can induce a zenlike state in the observer.
3. They tend not to possess the universal cockroach baggage: harmful bacteria, viruses, or worms.
4. They don’t wrack up expensive veterinarian bills.
5. Even if you did step in their poo, it would not produce the “ick” factor that stepping into the poo of (for example) a Canis familiaris would.
6. They don’t mind the absence of food in their terrarium. Go away for a month, and they just alter their metabolism accordingly.
7. They are among the few insects that communicate with a breath-powered voice, like birds and mammals.
8. Tape record a male hissing, replay it for a female, and watch her body palpitate with excitement.
9. They don’t wake you up in the middle of the night because they need to be let outside.
10. They don’t stick their muzzles into something nasty and then lick you.
11. They possess symbiotic mites that frolic like ballet dancers around their exoskeletons.
12. Those exoskeletons bear a close resemblance to polished mahogany.
13. Unlike certain pets, they’re not stuck in a state of perpetual childhood. Instead, they pass from egg to instar to adult without a backward glance.
14. They’ll eat anything you eat and, in addition, they’ll eat their own molts.
15. They don’t hiss at the neighbors.
16. They’re more or less unchanged in 365 million years. As the cockroach archy (of archy and mehitabel fame) said to the reader: “after all we were around when you were only a whatsis.”
Madagascar Giant Hissing Cockroaches :
courtesy to : Aqualand's tips to keeping Gromphadorhina portentosa
Origin : Island of Madagascar
Max Size : Three inches
Sexing : Males have blunt “horns”
Work Shift : Prefers nights
Temperature : 75 to 85. High end for breeding.
Attitude : Peaceful except when breeding
Comment : Males fight more when crowded
Substrate : Bran best. Plenty of others okay.
Security : Anything to hide in or under
Foods : Vegetation, fruits, dog food
Housing : Tightly covered container
Water : Clean water with sponge or rock
Breeding Age : Six months
Longevity : Two to five years
Incubation : About two months (internal)
Brood Size : 20 to 60 nymphs
Comment : Excellent lizard food
These two hissing roach males butted heads hard enough to knock this cork cave around.
Nasty looking at first but harmless.
Iowa roaches are disgusting little beasts. They come up our drain pipes.
Madagascar guy bigger and plumper. And possibly tastier.
Size. Male hissing roaches top out at three inches; females stay a bit smaller. Our Iowa roaches rarely exceed two -- no matter how much we feed them, voluntarily or involuntarily.
Sexing. Male hissing roaches grow blunt “horns” on the front of their heads. They also grow hairier antennae. Males also like to fight by butting heads. Funny we never see these guys butting heads with Mountain Dew drinkers. Hissing roaches get quite involved in their arguments.
Usually the youngsters hide in a different area from the breeders.
These little guys usually run at warp speed.
Temp and Humidity. Hissers will survive a wide range of temperatures -- probably coinciding with the day and night temps of Madagascar. They breed best at 85o and want to fight a lot at 90o -- male hissing roaches butt heads. Hissers go into a non-breeding phase below 75o. They like humidity, but misting can encourage mold. At Aqualand they breed like crazy in July and August.
Little roaches tend to run (and escape) a bit more than the big guys.
Handling. Unlike our U.S. roaches, hissing roaches will sit on your hand as opposed to running away faster than you can dance the Stomp the Roach Polka. Hissers probably cannot survive in our locale because of their non-fear of humans. They certainly can’t survive an Iowa winter. They have no snow shoes.
Hissing roaches on display at our Des Moines "Night Eyes" Zoo.
Nocturnal/Diurnal? Most roaches prefer to work the night shift. You (and you know who you are) see them scurry for cover when you flip on the lights. Hissers prefer less light than you like. Some come out during the day. Hissing roaches prefer to spend their days in hidey holes or under anything. Day or night, you rarely see hissers scurrying. They usually lumber.
This wooden hamster hut makes a massive roach condo. Newly shed to the right.
Make sure you add a lid.
keeps his hissing roaches over (and in) Lizard Bark. It teems with them -- all sizes.
Substrate. You can keep hissing roaches atop nearly any substrate. Research indicates bran enables you to see the babies (nymphs) more easily when cleaning their cage. Contrasting colored aquarium gravels or sands should make for a more colorful display. You need not try to duplicate the look of forest floor litter, although you can easily do so. Obviously you want to avoid cedar chips. And ground corn cobs mold too quickly. Dirt and potting soil both make a hard-to-keep-clean mess.
Sorry for the clutter. Paul's 10 with lid shows the essentials: food, water, cover.
Paul set up this hissing roach habitat for Aqualand in about 10 minutes.
Add substrate and 20 breeder hissing roaches, then stand back and admire your work.
Hissing roaches can climb glass. Use locking clips cause they're strong little rascals.
Container. Critter cages with snap-on lids make ideal containers for hissing roaches. Hissers cannot fly (no wings) but they can crawl like crazy -- right up plastic or glass and on out. You don’t want the wee beasties escaping and stampeding about your domicile. They’d love a nice warm spot under your refrigerator. Ten-gallon tanks with screen covers work very well also. Add the locking clips. Paul says his breeders can easily lift screen covers. Glass tanks also provide more stability. Light plastic cages seem to get knocked about a great deal.
Hidey Holes. Bugs (especially roaches) always find a place to hide. You can treat hissing roaches like crickets and give them paper rolls or egg cartons. Both provide lots of hiding room. Even a piece of wood or bark will work. Better yet, add a little style with a colorful ceramic cave or painted plastic palace. We used the natural looking cork bark caves. No point in building a bug slum. Gentrify it with some plastic plants. Hissers would probably eat live plants.
Water. Provide a low water dish with a sponge in it. Foolhardy nymphs will wade out past the safety ropes just like any kids. The sponge provides a hissing roach Personal Floatation Device to prevent their drowning.
Pelleted iguana foods contain much more nutrition than hissing roaches find in the wild.
Hissers enjoy pelleted parrot foods also.
Parakeet pellets work even better.
Especially once they figure out where it is.
Hissing roaches seem to like these baby carrots best.
But they don't all get the memo at the same time.
They do like carrots.
Foods. Any pelleted food works -- iguana food, bird food, dog food, cat food or whatever. Roaches (including hissers) adapt to nearly any substance with a carbon atom in it. Fresh foods like Romaine lettuce and bits of orange tempt their delicate palates. You will want to remove excess fresh food before it molds. Hissing roaches appear to love sliced baby carrots -- especially if you candy them by cooking them in butter and brown sugar like my aunt Ethelyn. No, Mike, my aunt was not cooked in butter and brown sugar. And, speaking of mold, pelleted foods mold also -- especially if they get wet.
Young hissing roach right after molting.
They start out a bright white after molting.
His insides are bigger than his outside.
Freshly shed hissing cockroach in the food dish.
Adult male immediately after molting plus his ex-skin. Shredded peat moss is messy.
Adult just emerging from exoskeleton.
Here's one on the cage lid.
So much tastier at this stage.
Skin Sheds. Lots of critters shed their exoskeletons as they grow. Ditto hissing roaches. Some devour their ex-skins -- especially if no other food is at hand. The lower on the food chain (and the less picky), the more likely they are to eat their skins. Most newly shed critters are very vulnerable (and especially tasty) at this stage. If you insist on eating roaches, the newly shed ones taste best (but crunch less).
Of course, predators happily devour roaches at any stage.
Summertime suits them fine.
You're more likely to spot this process if you have 200 or 300 head of roaches on your ranch.
We flipped her lid over.
Another working gal.
Another female cranking out an egg case on the front glass.
Here's the whole egg case.
They just don't quit.
Here you see the individual kids hatching.
Breeding. Male hissers butt heads to establish dominance -- like mountain sheep and Mountain Dew drinkers. Females usually breed with the dominant males -- the best butters (real butt heads). Typical bug breeding (birds dew it, bees dew it, even educated fleas etc), but the female hissing roach pulls her ootheca (pronounced egg case) into her back end and totes her developing litter around internally for about two months. Timing depends upon temp.
These little guys are just emerging from their ootheca and snacking on same.
Momma roach plus two probably unwilling baby sitters.
After Hatching. When she ejects the ootheca, the larvae emerge and start eating the ootheca or whatever else might be near.
Most hissing roach nymphs stay away from the adults.
Right after molting, your roach takes a while to regain his color.
All stud male hissing roaches. Cute or creepy?
Not a flying roach. This roach was nabbed and hauled up by this little balloon spider.
Maturity/Lifespan. The larvae (nymphs) shed and eat their skins as they grow. They attain sexual maturity at about six months. They live two to five years. Female hissing roaches produce about 700 offspring during their careers.
Madagascar hissing cockroaches having a party at the Omaha Zoo. Nymphs, too.
Four cute little hissing roach girls. One shy one.
Showing size variations in the adult hissing roaches.
Hissing roaches do grow quite large.
Madagascar hissing roaches -- not just for breakfast anymore.
Plenty of snacks to go around.
Zebra Madagascar roaches.
Spotted roach -- top view.
Ditto -- underside.
Death's Head Roaches -- female above with protruding egg case.
Underside of same female.
Last Word. If you can get past the “creep factor,” hissing roaches make intriguing pets. Kids love them. They make good class projects.
Cockroaches .. Introduction