Are You a Hisser Kisser?

By Ms Baker

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (aka “Hissers”) have invaded the biology classroom! I just received a shipment of 6 more hissers. Now we have a grand total of 9 cockroaches!

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

One biology class has already put the cockroaches to the test in the Y maze

One biology class has already put the cockroaches to the test in the Y maze

The newly arrived and very hungry hissers feast on a bowl of fruit and veggies.

The newly arrived and very hungry hissers feast on a bowl of fruit and veggies.

Check out the horns on this male!  And the fuzzy antennae!

Check out the horns on this male! And the fuzzy antennae!

Here’s a video of an incredibly cool hisser that controls its very own robot!

If you fall in love with our cockroaches (how could you not???), you should join the Blattodea Culture Club, a group dedicated to cockroach research.

Just for fun, I’ll give TWO lab bonus points to anyone willing to kiss one of our hissers! Why practice on a hand when you can practice with a roach? :) Pucker up!

19 Responses to “Are You a Hisser Kisser?”

  1. Brandon Says:I was a part of this experiment that tested a Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches’ response to various conditions/environments. Each group had the same controls but different variables. My group collectively chose to use a Light and Dark environment to perform our experiment. We used aluminum foil to cover a section of the maze in an effort to simulate a dark environment. After multiple trials, we discovered that the “Hisser” moved to the dark side of the maze as oppose to the side with light. This was a very interesting lab experiment.
  2. Peter Says:

    Hey Miss Baker! How is ur new class? Do you still have class pets? Well, its been good! Talk to u later!

  3. Miss Baker Says:

    Hi Peter! My new class is great! I do miss my old students and I’m sad I won’t see you all graduate. I hope things go well for you this year. We still have the hissing cockroaches and the tarantula. I’m in the process of trying to get a couple of snakes for the class, too. Please stop by and help out this year’s bio students with their blog. Leave lots of great comments for them! Also, feel free to submit another great “Motivational Donut” type post. :)

  4. teddy Says:I was a part of the hissing cockroach experiment. In our classes experiment we had to test different conditions to see what things the cockroach liked most. In my experiment we did light and dark. We did this by covering one side of a Y maze with tinfoil and then hitting the other side with light. The cockroach went to the light most of the time, but when we switched the light and dark sides it started going to the dark side. The interesting thing is that the cockroach went to the left side the majority of the time. A very interesting experiment that we could do is to see which side the cockroach likes to go; left or right. This would be very interesting because maybe there’s a reason for the cockroach to go to the left side all the time. My prediction to this question would probably be because maybe it’s easier for the cockroach to turn left than it is to turn right.
  5. Urmi Says:

    I was a part of the hissing cockroach experiment too. Our cockroach was tested on wet and dry. The cockroach perfered wet, but then we tried both sided of the Y dry and dry he prefered the right side which was dry on our frist experiment. The thing that fascinated our group was that our cockroach kept going to the right instead of the previous choice. My groups prediction was that our cockroach was going to choose the wet side more often, but it was incorrect. We were surprised by our data at the end of the experiment.

  6. Logan Says:

    I was a part of this experiment as well. Richard, Jenna, and I were in the same group. We did the same thing as everyone else which was to see if the cockroach would go left or right. Our group tested the same thing that Teddy and his group did, until the expriment started. First of all we made it light on the right side and dark on the left side. After we did ten trials the class period was over, so we had to resume the experiment the next day. When we got our cockroach back he just wouldn’t move, so Ms. Baker gave us another one. This time the roach wouldn’t come off of the wall of the maze, so Ms. Baker gave us a third one. I guess three times is the charm. After our group ran the tests on the roaches and we could see that the cockroach prefered the light more than the dark. Instead of changing the dark side we made it so both sides were light. The cockroach went to the right side 8 out of the 10 tests. The tests show that the roach just prefered the right side either way. I really enjoyed this lab!

  7. Katie O. Says:

    HI MS. BAKER!!!! I remember doing this lab. I don’t think I’d ever kiss one (no matter the bonus points), but surprisingly enough, I liked the cockroaches by the end of the experiment where I was deathly afraid at the begining. I miss our fourth period class. This year my chemistry class is HUGE compared to it.

    For the new biology students: structure fits function and the biological goal of all living things is to survive to reproduce. :D

    Have fun with the hissers!

  8. David Says:

    I did this expieriment two times with the same control variables. One of the times with a wet paper cloth on the left side of the Y maze and a dry paper towel on the right side. The cockroach went to the left side of the Y maze (which had the wet paper towel) ninteen out of thirty test trials. Our hypothesis stated that we though it would go to the wet side more than the dry side. The first time i conducted the expieriment i used the dark/light variable. For this variable we put tin foil over the left side of the maze and shined a desk light over the right side. Our hypothesis stated that we thought it would go to the covered side because its more like the cockroaches natural enviroment. The cockroach went to the dark side twenty four out of thirty trials. For the dark/light variable we had a female cockroach, while for the wet/dry variable we had a male one. To make sure the cockroaches didnt go to one side because of natural instinct or because of another reason we tested the expieriment with no variables t confirm that the variables had something to do with where they go. It was a fun expieriment, but i must admit i was scared to touch the cockroaches.

    : (

  9. Sam F. Says:

    I was apart of this expirement and both times I did it these cockroaches were very unfriendly to us. We would pick one up and it would use it legs which were sharp to cling on to your hands. The problem was that we didn’t want to pull it to hard because we didn’t want the leg to separate. When we tested it we tested if the cockroach would go to the the bluberries or dogfood or if it would go to the other side. This cockroach must of not been hungry because he crawled to the side where there was no food. Overall this was a fun expirement though.

  10. Rachael Says:

    I was a part of this experiment too. For my group we decided for the independent variable to be food vesuses no food. We hypothesized that the coackroad would choose the direction where the food was rather than the direction without it. We thought that the cockroad would choose the side with the food in it because we thought he may be hungry. If he was hungry he may sense the food and decide to check out what was over on that side. Also, if the cockroach was hungry that maybe he would have started to eat the food. When we did the first few trails the cockroach decided to go to the direction in which the food was placed. My group was excited because the cockroach had chosen the side we hypothesized on, but eventually it got curious and chose the other direction. By the end of the experiment the cockroach had chosen the side with the food in it more than the one without. Although our hypothesis was correct we are still not sure if the cockroach chose the side because it sensed the food or simply because it wanted to go there.

    Today during our Biology class some of my classmates and I kissed some of the cockroaches! It was a new and interesting experince and we also got bonus points for it! I suggest everyone should kiss a cockraoch at least once in their life time!

  11. Jenna Says:I kissed a cockroach today and I was really nervous, but after I did it, it was not so bad. I Just read on, that Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches can grow up to three inches long, and that they only eat vegetables, I always thought that they eat other bugs.
  12. Hope Says:

    The cockroach experiment was fun and interesting. We tested to see if our cockroach would go either to the female side of the “Y” (which was the right side) or the side with no cockroach (which was the left side). Out of thirty trials, the cockroach only went to the side with the female three times. Then we tested to see if the cockroach just prefered the left side or if he just didn’t like the female. It turns out that our cockroach just liked the left side. Out of the possible thirty trials for that experiment, the cockroach went to the left side all thirty.

    Also, a some of our classmates kissed the cockroach a few days ago. A few of our classmates thought it was gross,but I thought it was kind of fun. I did kiss the cockroach, and I agree with Rachael everyone should kiss a cockroach once in their lifetime. P.S Miss. Baker, since you didn’t get a picture of me kissing the cockroach, I will do it again for one extra point!

  13. Skye Says:

    I was part of the cockroach lab experiment as well. We conducted a Y maze which was designed to have one side as the independent variable and the other side as the control. My group decided to choose the independent variable to be female verses no female. The cockroach we used was a male, obviously, since we wanted to attract it to the female. We placed the female on the right side of the Y maze and then placed a clear cap in the maze to trap her so she would not go anywhere. Surprisingly, the male cockroach only went to the female (the right side) three times out of thirty trials. Then we decided that maybe it was not necessarily the female the male was avoiding, but that it preferred the left side over the right. We then conducted a new experiment where there was no independent variable. Both the left and right side were empty. Still, our cockroach went to the left side.

    A few days after that, our class was offered two bonus points if we kissed the cockroach.

    I could not believe that I did it! Everyone who has not had the opportunity to kiss one yet, I suggest should, because it was the highlight of my day!

  14. Brianna Says:

    I was also a part of the cockroach lab. My group conducted our experiment using a “Y” maze, a male cockroach and soil. At first we let the cockroach roam around as we observed him. He did not move that much and he also did not hiss as much as we thought he would. Then, as we began our experiment we filled the left side of the Y maze with soil and left the right side empty. We placed him in the top of the maze and he crawled to the side with no soil. We were surprised and kept repeating the experiment, and found out that he went to both sides almost equally. Therefore, we could not finalize a conclusion, and we just said that our cockroach preferred both sides.

    Maybe our cockroach was tired? Maybe he was confused because the group that used him before us might have used a different independent variable? We weren’t sure.

    And i agree with Skye. If you have not kissed a cockroach for two extra lab points you should, it was not as bad as you would think it is, and it was also one of the highlights of my day. :D

  15. clark Says:

    I was part of this experiment too. In ours we decided to the experiment on whether the cockroach would go to the female or the non-female side of the Y maze. At first he did not really like going to see the female cockroach in the first ten time he went to the non-female side eight times. The towards the end he started to go to the female side more. We ran forty trials and at the end it went to the female’s side 22 times and the non-female side 18 times.

    Yea we had the same opportunity to kiss a cockroach, but i did not do it. It is creepy.

  16. Ryan D Says:

    I was part of the cockroach lab and to be honest was very nervous to kiss the cockroach. The cockroach did not feel as weird as I thought it would feel. In fact I could barely feel it. I just read on that hissing cockroaches can live two to five years. That is pretty impressive because they are so small you would think that they would barely make it to one year.

  17. Frank Says:Well my group tested if a female cockroach was a reason for a cockroach to change its direction or not. We put a female into one arm of the Y and nothing in the other. Our first test we used the only female and a male. The male was put at the end of the Y and was to decide which way to go. On our first test i believe the results were inconclusive; this is because i dropped the cockroach too much. Also the results of the first test were nearly the same. So we did a second test and did not! drop it… much. This test was very accurate being that we recorded that the roach went to the female 29 times and only once to the right. This i believe is because it was finding out what was down there, this could bring out a sense of deep thinking in a cockroaches mind. This is an educated guess though; but to get back on topic our test was in conclusive so we need to run 1 more and do another test with food in the other arm as well as a female.
  18. bug_girl Says:

    One thing that might help to explain your results is that roaches are thigmotactic–they like to be touching walls and edges.

    If you start your maze with the roach near the right or left edge of the container–they will just follow the edge they are near.

    Also, and you will probably discover this soon, this kind of roach gives live birth!

    It may be that your female was already pregnant, and not interested in attracting a male. They aren’t always interested in mating. Sometimes they do other things :)

    And, these roaches are especially fond of bananas, if you want to do additional food choice tests.

  19. Louis Says:I was also part of this experiment, my group decided to do wet or dry. I put wet paper towels on one side of the Y maze, and on the other side we put dry paper towels. We wanted to see if a Madagascar Hissing Cockroachs prefered to walk on a dry surface, or a wet surface. I found that the “Hisser” prefered to go into the wet path 41 out of 50 times, thats 82% of the time. The cockroach did not like to move very fast, or very far, so it was hard to get enough data to make a good conclusion, but finally I concluded that the cockroach prefered to walk on a wet surface. And yes, I did kiss the cockroach for bonus points.
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