Aeluropoda insignis, commonly known as the Flat Horn Hisser, is a large hissing cockroach from Madagascar. If exotic tropical insects are your thing, you’re into hissing roaches, or you’re looking for a fun and interesting aquarium specimen or even a pet, these are a must-have!
To start, Flat Horned Hissers are extraordinarily beautiful in both color and form. And we happen to have some of the most beautiful specimens available! A deep red/purple/mahogany color augments their pleasingly symmetrical shape, which as their name implies, is relatively flat. Males appear masculine, with aggressive horns and large black legs.
However, appearances don’t always tell the whole story in the insect world. While Flat Horn Hissers appear aggressive, they tend to be calm and easily tamed with regular handling. One thing about being a huge insect is that you have fewer predators, which tends to result in a generally relaxed attitude.
Flat Horn Hissers are relatively rare and not available from many cockroach breeders. They reproduce slowly, gestation time is long, and females carry relatively few nymphs. But they are just as easy to keep and breed as other roaches from Madagascar. In fact, they thrive in a range of conditions and are quite easy to care for. They like temperatures between 70°F and 85°F for general good health, with conditions on the upper end of the scale for breeding.
As you probably guessed, Flat Horned Hissers are…flat. In fact, these roaches are flat as a pancake! Their bodies are wider and much flatter than the common Madagascar hissing cockroach or the closely related Wide Horn Hisser. There are a few exceptions, like gravid females with abdomens full of eggs and individual roaches after heavy feeding. However, most of the time they resemble a frisbee more than a football.
They also have horns, or so they’re called. Both sexes have them, but they’re much more prominent on males. They consist of two large, flat-black protrusions on the back of their shell sandwiched between two massive antennae. They are quite cool looking. When housed together, males use their horns to battle with each other, hissing and charging to establish dominance.
The hissing sound males make is fairly prominent. It’s similar to the sound cats make when threatened, but not nearly as loud or menacing. They make this hissing sound by squeezing air through a special cavity in their abdomen. Interestingly, they actually have different hisses for different purposes. Mating, fighting, and “general alarm” each have different tones. With a little experience, you can tell the difference between hisses.
Like other hissing cockroaches, the Flat Horn Hisser can grow fairly large. Males can reach up to about 3 inches depending on diet and living conditions, and they live 3-5 years. Females are usually a bit smaller than males. They eat a variety of foods but prefer carrots, apples, bananas, squash, and our roach chow. Their housing should include plenty of dark space and some material like cardboard egg crates to move around on. You can also use natural materials like wood and leaves if you prefer.
NOTE: We treat our Flat Horned Hissers the same as our organic Dubia roaches, which means they enjoy only organic foods.
Because they can climb glass and smooth plastic, you’ll need to provide housing with either a tight lid or a 2-inch strip of petroleum jelly around the rim. Females give birth to around 10 to 20 nymphs, and because they carry their young internally, you don’t have to provide any special substrate for breeding. As far as humidity goes, they like 60% and above.
Flat Horn Hissers is great for children and others with little or no experiencing keeping insects. They’re cool, interesting to look at and fun to watch. They hiss, but they aren’t terribly fast and get used to being handled. They’re harmless to humans and other animals, and if they escape they will simply die. As far as we know, the only two states in which they could survive and colonize in the wild if they were to escape are Hawaii and Florida, and both states restrict their importation.
They’re also relatively clean members of the already clean cockroach family. Their waste dries into frass, which is easy to remove. Our experience has always been that the food we feed our roaches has a higher potential to become foul than anything else in their enclosure.