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The World of Insectivores

People apparently enjoy insectivorous activities, too.

The following comes from an article titled Homo Insectivorus by Norman Myers as seen in Science Digest, May, 1982.
  • Fricasseed flies, marinated moths, fried butterflies and pâté of praying mantis and other such protein-rich concoctions, made of farm-grown insects, may help feed the world.
  • In much of the Third World, insects are routinely eaten for pleasure and nourishment, despite the prejudices of Westerners.
  • In the Kalahari Desert of Africa, cockroaches are a staple of the Bushmen’s diet.
  • In Bogotá, Colombia, French-fried ants are sold piping hot on the streets.
  • Lightly toasted butterflies and moths are a favorite food in Bali.
  • Crickets and locusts are standard fare in Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Botswana, Africa.
  • In Uganda, people who live along the shores of Lake Victoria trap a species of lake fly that, when crushed into a sticky cakelike mass, is said to look and taste like caviar.
  • In the outback of Australia, aborigines eat honey ants soon after the insects have fed on sweet eucalyptus sap.
  • Malaysians love deep-fried grasshoppers, and in New Guinea, residents eat two-inch wood spiders. When roasted, they are said to taste something like peanut butter but not as thick in consistency.
  • In many parts of Asia and Africa, the praying mantis is a gourmet’s delight. The Thais, for instance, mash the insect into a paste that tastes similar to shrimp-and-mushroom pâté.
  • History offers ample evidence of man as an insectivore. The Book of Leviticus, in the Old Testament of the Bible, repeats Moses’s injunction to the ancient Hebrews: avoid eating all insects except locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers. The New Testament, in the Gospel of Mark, tells us that John the Baptist survived in the wilderness by eating locusts and wild honey.
  • Besides their proven nutritive value, insects have one other advantage as a food supply: they are the most abundant, most nearly inexhaustible form of life on Earth.
  • Termite colonies can range in size from 10,000 to three million. A swarm of locusts in East Africa can easily blanket 600 square miles and comprise up to 400 billion insects; or, translated into food terms, nearly 100,000 tons of edible protein.
  • Ants, flies, beetles, roaches, bees, wasps, caterpillars, larvae, grubs, and pupae of all kinds are uncountable and their reproduction can not be calculated.
  • How illogical that the United States, which counts among its gastronomic delicacies such invertebrates as oysters, clams, shrimps, scallops, crabs, and lobsters, should consider insect invertebrates to be inedible.
  • From an esthetic point of view, too, there seems little logic in our culinary prejudices: it would be hard to demonstrate that lobsters are more attractive than grasshoppers.
  • As for cleanliness, there’s much to be said in favor of the insects: lobsters scavenge on all kinds of garbage and debris on the ocean floor, while grasshoppers eat only vegetation.

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