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Gromphadorhina portentosa

Found in Madagascar, these cockroachs are wingless and feed off of fallen fruit and rotten logs within the forest. These creatures are distinct in their ability to produce sound.

Their life cycle is long and atypical of cockroaches. The females bear live young, named nymphs after a period of 60 days. Mothers produce 30-60 nymphs per litter. The life cycle is compoes of three stages: egg, nymph, adult. The nymphs undergo 6 molts before maturing at 7 months. These cockroaches live 2 to 5 years.

They are typically two inches long. Males have horns atop their heads, and females have bumps in their place. The males are aggressive. Males fight by ramming one another with their horns and pushing with their abdomens. Hissing occurs to size up rivals, and also after the fight, with winners hissing the loudest (boasting/cheering?). Hissing also occurs during 'courtship' of males and females.

People generally associate the hissing with disturbance. When handled or disturbed the cockroach will hiss. This is the only time a female or nymph will hiss.

The hiss is produced by expelling air through a breathing pores and resembles vertebrates sound producing method. Typically insects produce sound through vibration of a membrane or rubbing body parts (cricket).

Raising a hissing cockroach:
  • 5 to 10 gallon fish tank for about 5 roaches.
  • Lid for the tank
  • Wood shavings, change regularly especially in high humidity.
  • Block or log. The introduction of an object encourages aggressive behavior from males and therefore more fights will occur. (if any object will do, why not have fun and make them fight over an inflatable roach, or maybe a porno?)
  • A tube filled with water and plugged with cotton. Change the water every week.
  • Dry dog food works as well as mouse chow. Throw in fruit rotten or not every once in a while for variety.
Source: http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Entomology/entfacts/misc/ef014.htm

Picture available at: http://www.seaworld.org/animal_bytes/abhissingcockroaches.htm

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