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Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches (Gromphadorhina sp.) - Nymphs / Adults

Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches (Gromphadorhina sp.) - Nymphs / Adults

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are the largest species of cockroach in the world, originating from the island of Madagascar. There are around 20 species of hissing cockroach, with G. portentosa, and G. oblongonota being the most common in the pet trade. However, these species commonly interbreed creating hybrids, and many hobbyists still confuse the two species making identification extremely challenging at times! The reason we have stated that the individuals we keep are Gromphadorhina sp is because we have received adult hissers from various sources without a true indentifcation, making it hard to rule out the possibility of hybrids. We know some of our individuals are wide-horned hissers (G. oblongonota), so nymphs and adults will be a variety of this and other species.


Nymphs are a dark brown, grey colour, and undergo 6 moults before reaching adulthood. Once mature, adults are a rich terracotta brown colour, with males possessing large, pointed horns on their pronotum. Hissers have a symbiotic relationship with a species of mite, Gromphadorholaelaps schaeferi, which are believed to keep the exoskeleton clean of certain debris and food that encourages fungal growth. So, if you notice small mites on your hissing cockroaches, do not panic and leave them be! Hissing cockroaches are unique in their method of communicating as they push air out of their spiracles, or ‘breathing holes’, which is rarely seen in invertebrates. There are different types of hisses used for different situations, with the most commonly observed being mating, fighting, and responding to threats. Males will hiss at each other during fights, with the dominant male hissing more frequently. If one male refuses to back down, then both males will butt horns until one eventually gives up and runs away.


Interestingly however, new research has shown that males with smaller horns compensate with larger testicals which may help when fertilising female hissers! Female hissers will internally incubate their eggs in an ootheca for around 60-70 days, or egg sac, and each sac can contain up to 60 nymphs! The young emerge from the females’ abdomen and can stay near the mother for some time. We notice that gravid females will tend to eat more leafy greens and have visibly plumper abdomens, and females can have up to three litters per year under the right conditions.


  • Lifespan: 2-5 years
  • Adult Size: 6-9cm
  • Status: captive bred
  • Place of Origin: Madagascar
  • Temperature: 22-30˚C
  • Humidity: 60-80%
  • Diet: hardwood leaf litter, various fruits( melon, banana, pear, apple, cucumber), various greens (romaine lettuce, spinach), rotting hardwood, lichen, seed pods, protein (fish pellets, bee pollen, fish flakes), jelly pots
  • We keep a colony of around 20 adults and many nymphs in the same 60X30X40cm tank which is a converted aquarium with mesh covering any escape points, at 22-24˚C and 70-80% humidity. 


  • You can use a heat mat on the SIDE of the tank if your house is on the cooler side. A smaller colony of 5-10 roaches will be just fine in a 30x20cm tank. 


  • We like to use plenty of large cork bark, fake and live plants, and lichen branches to provide both climbing and hiding opportunities. These hissers are nocturnal and are naturally found hiding in rotten logs in the wild, so they will greatly appreciate it! We suggest keeping the substrate damp (not soaking!) by misting 1-2 times a week or when the top layer of substrate is dry.  


  • We have had success using both our Rainforest and Millipede Edible substrates for these, but a substrate that is rich in organic material and can hold moisture well is also suitable. A substrate depth of around 10cm is sufficient, but deeper allows the adults and nymphs to bury themselves more comfortably. Leaf litter, moss and botanicals can be added on top of the substrate for a more natural feel and will also be munched on by roaches.  


  • We feed our colony twice a week with fresh fruits and veggies, along with a good sprinkling of fish flakes and bee pollen around the whole enclosure. Start with a small amount of food and monitor how long it takes your colony to finish it before increasing portions. Not only does this help you reduce food waste it also prevents outbreaks of mites and fruit flies.  


  • We recommend staying on top of spot cleaning and remove any uneaten food and waste from the enclosure 1-2 times a week. Roaches are prone to fungal infections and a dirty environment is a quick way to harm your colony. Substrate can be changed once every 1-2 months.


  •  we advise adding a clean-up crew like springtails and tropical grey isopods to help keep the substrate maintained and your tank clean and healthy!  
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