Entomophagy in the highlands and littoral parts of Madagascar

Monday, November 11, 2013
Exhibit Hall 4 (Austin Convention Center)
Maminirina Randrianandrasana , Department of Entomology, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
May R. Berenbaum , Department of Entomology, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
Insects remain a constituent of contemporary diets for Malagasy people who are mainly farmers. Insects are collected while working in the field or bought locally in marketplaces. From April to June in 2013, we conducted a survey of entomophagy practices in Madagascar, a country exceptionally rich in natural biodiversity, with diverse cultures because of its melting-pot human inhabitants. A questionnaire was filled by randomly visiting households for each site. Ten sites were located in the Highlands (Ambatofinandrahana, Anjà) and the littoral parts (Maroantsetra and Mahabo). Insects mentioned by interviewees were collected if available. The most varied groups consumed by Malagasy people were in the orders Hemiptera and Coleoptera, composed of terrestrial and aquatic groups. At all sites,  individuals consumed approximately a range of six morphospecies.  No qualitative differences were observed between the sites in the Highlands and in the littoral parts of the country, although people in Anjà consumed a greater diversity of species, ranging from 3 to 21 morphospecies of  arthropods per person recorded, including orb-weavers and praying mantises.  Malagasy people traditionally use a variety of species of insects as food but opinions about incorporating a new insect in their diet were split. This last result indicated that an established tradition of eating a range of insect species does not necessarily indicate willingness to incorporate new species into the diet.