Cockroach classification
All cockroach species belong to the order Blattodea. This order is comprised of six different families: Blaberidae, Blattellidae, Blattidae, Cryptocercidae, Polyphagidae and Nocticolidae. The name of the order is derived from the Greek word “blatta”, which means cockroach. The English term cockroaches is related to the Spanish name for these animals; cucarachas.

Cockroach habitat
Within the order Blattodea you will find approximately 3,500 different species of cockroach. Cockroaches are found all over the world, except for environments located above 6,500 feet (2,000 metres) and the Polar Regions. They can thrive in a wide range of different environments, but some species are much more adaptable than others. Only a fraction of the world’s cockroach species will for instance thrive in the typical North American or northern Euro-Asian home. Tropical cockroaches are for instance used to really hot temperatures and will therefore not appreciate the comparatively cold temperatures offered by heated homes in cold parts of the world. 

Famous Cockroach
The cockroach species that infest human dwellings are naturally the most famous, and feared, cockroaches. The American cockroach (Periplaneta americana) and the German cockroach (Blattella germanica) are two of the most common household cockroaches. Compared to their tropical relatives, these two cockroach species are quite small. The American cockroach rarely grows larger than 3 centimetres, while the German cockroach stay around 1.5 centimetres in length. 

Record cockroach

  1. The Megaloblatta longipennis cockroach has the biggest wingspan of all cockroaches, an impressive 18 centimetres.
  2. The Macropanesthia rhinoceros cockroach is the heaviest cockroach and can weigh up to 50 grams.
  3. The Attaphila fungicola cockroach is the smallest known cockroach and stays below 4 millimetres in length.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
Just like the American and German cockroaches, the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach is found in human dwellings. The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa) will however enter homes not as a pest, but as a fascinating and bellowed pet. As the name suggests, the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach is native to the island of Madagascar. It will reach a size of 5-7.5 cm as an adult.

The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach derives its name from its habit of hissing when it is picker up or threatened in any other way. The hissing is a defence mechanism the sound is produced by air that is force through the animals breathing tubes. 

It is important to keep in mind that even though the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach is wingless, it is an excellent climber that will escape from a lidless glass container. You can keep several specimens in the same container, but you should know that this species do reproduce in captivity. Wild Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches spend their life in tropical forests in Madagascar where they search for food among dead leaves. You should therefore try to mimic this type of environment in the container. 

If you want to house a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, you should ideally provide with a temperature similar to its native environment on Madagascar. This means roughly 25° C during the day and a few degrees colder during the night. Do not let the temperature drop below 18° C.

Cockroach Articles:

American Cochroaches
German Cochroaches


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