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The Limits of Entomophagy: A Discretionary Gourmand in a World of Toxic Insects
S. Blum, Ph.D.
large variety of insect species can provide the basis for an epicurean
repast that can be truly an olfactory delight as well as gustatorily
piquant. In a word insects
can constitute absolutely delicious fare, the seasoned entomophage
experiencing the joys of an endless series of appetizing encounters with
selected arthropods whose palatabilities provide the basis for a most
highly pleasurable gastronomy. The
entomophagous propensities of many peoples, combined with the fulsome
number of insect species available for consumption, guarantees that these
multifarious arthropods will frequently constitute an invertebrate cui
sine par excellence. However, as delectable as some species are, it is important
to recognize that entomophagy has its safe limits as a consequence of the
presence of a diversity of insect species that contain powerful
pharmacological agents that are known vertebrate toxins.
Furthermore, it is very likely that a host of unrecognized toxic
species may be encountered as possible food items.
In short, the insect gourmet must be eminently assiduous in the
selection of food. In order
to illuminate the topic of insect nonfood items, the following explication
is presented to emphasize that ingestion of the wrong species of insect
may not be a matter to be taken lightly, unless one has an ironclad
gastrointestinal tract and the constitution of Bufo
addressing the question of the toxicity of ingested insects to man, it
seems desirable to consider several points that are relevant in analyzing
the potential hazards of entomophagy.
Hopefully, in so doing it will become evident that the
terminological exactitude required to accurately describe the possible
consequences of insect eating by humans is not always readily apparent.
Insect vs. Plant Natural Products This review will only deal with compounds that are synthesized within the body of the insect. Compounds that are sequestered by the insect from plants, the allelochemicals, were discussed in the last issue of the Newsletter by another reviewer and will not be treated here. Thus, insects and selected examples of their own natural products will be regarded as potentially toxic effronteries when ingested, and this study of the toxic effects of compounds of natural origin will be referred to as toxinology.
State of Toxinological Data for Insect Natural Products Our knowledge
of the toxic effects of insect natural products is far from complete.
Hundreds of insect-derived compounds have been identified in the
last four decades (Blum 198 1), but it would be no exaggeration to state
that virtually nothing is known about their toxinology vis-a-vis
humans. Indeed, it seems
evident that detailed toxinological data for insect natural products, with
few exceptions, are only available for compounds that are of obvious
public health significance (e.g., vesicants).
A host of insect-derived compounds, many of which are unique
substances, have never been evaluated as toxic agents.
When one considers the millions of insect species, many of which
are generating natural products, the task of undertaking toxinological
studies on these arthropods is truly daunting, but nevertheless very
vs. Toxic Insects Although a multitude of insect species are
distasteful or repellent, they will not be included in this review of
toxic species. For example,
aldehydes produced by pentatomids and other hemipterans may be eminently
distasteful, but there is no persuasive evidence that these odoriferous
compounds are very toxic to vertebrates.
The same can be said for 4-methyl-3-heptanone, a characteristic
exocrine compound synthesized by reduviids and hymenopterans.
Distasteful compounds usually result in their producers being
rejected at the oral level or before (e.g., repellent spray), and enteric
toxicity does not generally appear to be of great significance.
vs. Chronic Toxicity Toxicity is a relative phenomenon, reflecting among
other things, both the dosage of a candidate compound and the temporal
period subsequent to its ingestion. For
toxic insects, available data are for all intent and purpose, acute.
Chronic toxicity is essentially unrecognized, as is the case for
delayed toxicity, a phenomenon of major importance in the area of
toxicology (Gilmanetal. 1980).As far as the literature is concerned, rapid
reactions to the ingestion of toxic insects were a sine
qua non if the toxicity of the enteric challenge was to be described
in detail. If delayed toxicity results, or if intoxication follows the
ingestion of insects over a prolonged period, it is not unlikely that the
victims of this pernicious entomophagy will receive no recognition for
their gastronomic suffering.
vs. Nonexocrine Natural
Products When a human ingests a toxic insect, the adverse effects of
the toxins may be first
experienced when the products of an exocrine gland are secreted as
SEE ENTOMOPHAGY LIMITS, P. 6
The Food Insects
About Cutworm Moths and Grizzly Bears
the November 1992 Newsletter we
reported, based on a short article in Newsweek
that cutworm moths had been observed to be an important food of
grizzly bears, now staging somewhat of a comeback in the northern Rocky
Mountains. The study
mentioned In Newsweek was in the Absaroka Mountains east of Yellowstone National
Park in Wyoming. The specific
identity of the moth or moths involved
was not known, or at least not mentioned in the article.
as the result of yet another small world story, we have learned the
identity of the moth and a little about its biology.
My wife and I were returning from the Portland, Oregon area last
summer when, during a stop at the airport in Minneapolis for a connecting
flight to Madison, we ran into Professor Bob Ruff, Department of Wildlife
Ecology at the University of Wisconsin.
When we boarded the flight to Madison, as good luck would have it,
Bob and I had seats across the aisle from each other.
He was returning from bear country in Wyoming, so I mentioned the
grizzly-cutworm connection. He
had seen a report or two on it and said he would send over some
information -- which turned out to be an article in the International
Bear News by Don White, Jr.
(Department of Biology, Montana State University, Bozeman, M'I) and
Katherine Kendall (National Park Service, Glacier National Park, West
In the spring of 1992, they initiated a three-year study on bear feeding ecology at moth aggregation sites in Glacier National Park. Nine moth aggregation sites were identified in the alpine regions of the Park. All of the moths collected at two of the study sites proved to be Euxoa auxiliaris Grote (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Moths collected in mid-July 1992 averaged 24.4% protein and 34.4% fat;
collections averaged 18% protein and 35.4% fat. Bear use of moth aggregation sites lasted at least from July
12 to September 3 in 1992, and 67% of bear activity on the talus slopes
was directed toward moth feeding. All
bears were grizzlies, no black bears were observed.
Several species of birds also fed on the moths.
moth has an interesting life cycle. It
undergoes its development in the Great Plains where the eggs, about 2000
per female, are laid in the soil in the fall.
The larva, which has a total of seven instars, is in the first or
second instar when it enters diapause.
It resumes feeding in the spring on plants such as alfalfa or small
grains. The larval period
varies depending on temperature and location but may be as long as 25-32
days in Kansas and 43-63 days in Montana.
Pupation is in underground cells.
The adult moths emerge in early summer and migrate westward into
the Rocky Mountains where they congregate above timberline.
The moths occupy the interstitia of talus slopes during the day and
feed nocturnally, nectar sources being alpine and subalpine flowers. The return migration to the plains occurs in late summer or
and Kendall mention several areas in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming and
Montana where grizzlies are known to feed on cutworm moths and other
alpine insect aggregations. In
the Mission Mountains, grizzlies feed not only on E.
auxiliaris, but also on ladybird beetles (Coccinnella
and Hippodamia spp.).
D.; Kendall, K. 1993. Grizzly
bears and army cutworm moths in the alpine of Glacier National Park,
Bear News 2(3):2-3.
Entomology Textbook Devotes Space to Entomophagy
P.J.; Cranston, P.S. The Insects: An
Outline of Entomology. Chapman
& Hall, United Kingdom (In press).
Penny Gullan, The Australian National University, sent a manuscript copy
of a section titled, "Insects as human food: entomophagy," which
will be part of the first chapter of this new general entomology textbook.
It is an excellent short discussion of the subject (6 manuscript
pages). We quote below two
paragraphs that focus on implications and challenges for the future:
"Large scale harvest or mass production of insects for human consumption brings some practical problems. The small size of most insects presents difficulties in collection or rearing and in processing for sale. Development of culture techniques also is necessary to overcome the unpredictability of many wild populations. However, the encouragement of entomophagy in many rural societies, particularly those with a history of insect use, may help diversify peoples' diets. By incorporating mass harvesting of pest insects into control programs, the use of pesticides can be reduced. Furthermore, cultivating insects for protein should be less environmentally damaging
cattle ranching, which devastates forests and native grasslands.
Insect farming is compatible with low input, sustainable
agriculture and most insects have a high food conversion efficiency
compared with conventional meat animals.
Perhaps the bugburger, cricketburger or beeburger will become
acceptable alternatives to the well-known American hamburger....
"Clearly insects can form part of the nutritional base of people and their domesticated animals. Further research is needed and a database with accurate identifications is required to handle biological information. We must know which species we are dealing with in order to make use of information gathered elsewhere on the same or related insects. Data on the nutritional value, seasonal occurrence, host plants or other dietary needs, and rearing or collecting methods must be collated for all actual or potential food insects. Opportunities for insect food enterprises are numerous, given the immense diversity of insects."
The Food Insects
olins -- not sandwiches!
olins -- not sandwiches!
"My CM designation notes a non contribution to your great newsletter. Cognizant of my initial defraying of suggested $5.00 when requesting your newsletter I underwent head, thoracic and abdomenable constrictions. However, herewith a contribution of $10.00 to help perpetuate your great program. "
Any other readers who may have experienced those same symptoms, should
write the editor for a prescription.
Various species of palm trees. Besides
palm trees, it is said that sugar cane, aloe, apple and some other
plants will be alternate hosts. I am rearing the adults and larvae of this species on apples.
The adults can oviposit their eggs into apiece of apple.
The hatched larvae can grow on apples.
Now my larvae are in the full grown state.
The infested apple was often liquefied.
In the liquid I saw many yeasts.
I assume that the yeast may play an important role in nutrition of
the weevils. I hope soon
they will become pupae. I
have also attempted to rear this insect on an artificial diet.
Contrary to my expectation, I found that formulation of synthetic
diet for this weevil was quite difficult.
They ate neither potatoes nor sweet potatoes.
A synthetic diet consisting of sugar, potato starch, yeast,
cellulose powder, and coconut flake was refused by the adults and the
larvae. Modifications of
this diet all failed to grow the larvae. I
am afraid that apples are too expensive as diet for mass
production of this weevil. Now,
I am analysing the ") nutritive value of this larva. When I
finish these experiments, I may send you a report.
TV Company seeks
stories about food insects
A Natural History Filming Company in England is looking for food stories about insect-eating for a new series challenging people's attitudes towards animals that are usually found frightening or unpleasant. We would like to hear of any specialty restaurants or chefs who serve insects and other invertebrates, and of people who have adopted them in their diet. Also fo interest are events featuring food insects and any particularly unusual stories about them.
Please contact: Jan Castle, Zebra Films, The Production House, 147a St. Michael's Hill, Bristol, BS2 8DB, England. FAX (44 272) 736866. TEL: (44272) 706026
The Food Insects Newsletter Page 4
Recent Articles in Professional Journals
J.O.; Ajiboye, D.O. 1993. Some edible insects of Kwara State, Nigeria.
Amer. Entomologist 39(2):113-116,
6 figs. Department of
Biological Sciences, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria.
to the authors, taboos - religious and other- are important among factors
influencing entomophagy in West Africa.
The taboos are believed to run generally along ethnic lines, and
the authors set out therefore to investigate beliefs militating against
entomophagy among the four major tribes in Kwara State, the Yoruba, Ibira,
Nupe and Baruba. Seven
species of insects are generally acceptable within these four dominant
tribes. A questionnaire was
sent to all local government areas of Kwara State and followed up by
personal interviews to clarify questions that arose from responses to
natalensis (termite): The winged reproductives, which are strongly
attracted to light sources, are eaten by all age groups but are collected
mainly by the women and children. Termites
are. sold in the markets when catches are large, while small collections
are consumed at home. They
are fried or roasted. The
queen termite is considered a delicacy for adults only, but can be
obtained only when a termitarium is destroyed.
These insects live in tunnels which are easily detected.
They turn a golden color when roasted.
Members of the Ire clan of the Yoruba tribe do not eat crickets for
reasons discussed by the authors.
aeruginosus unicolor and
(grasshoppers): these are prepared in a manner similar to that for
crickets and are consumed by all age groups of all tribes.
Grasshoppers are plentiful only periodically and were not observed
being sold in the markets.
(moth larva): Popularly
known as Kanni, this is perhaps the most important and widely marketed
edible insect in Kwara State. The
larvae are starved for a day or two to eliminate the gut contents, then
boiled for 2 hours, then sun-dried on mats.
Most tribes in Kwara State do not eat dried larvae of other
insects, but Kanni is an essential ingredient in a vegetable soup,
considered a delicacy, which also includes onion, melon, tomatoes, pepper
oil, and salt to taste. In
the market, the dried larvae sold forNI9.50/kg (N1.00= US 300) compared
with the 1986 price of N9.00/kg for beef.
Rhynchophorus phoenicis (palm weevil larva): Palm trees under stress for any reason and fallen palms serve as breeding sites and can support hundreds of larvae. Mature larvae are huge, measuring about 10.5 cm long and 5.5 cm wide. Collected larvae are washed and fried; condiments added include onion, pepper and a little salt. "Most people who were interviewed believe that this insect is very delicious."
boas (scarabaeid beetle larva): Breeding sites such as dunghills and
refuse of various kinds are searched for by all age groups, but more
frequently by the women and children in the course of their other duties.
The larvae are even larger than palm weevil larvae.
After preparation, they are washed thoroughly and fried.
Acceptability of this insect is decreased because of the
"dirty" nature of the breeding sites, but it is still popular
among most insect eaters.
authors conclude that entomophagy should be promoted through education and
that edible insects can help substantially in reducing the protein
deficiency problem that exists in Kwara state.
They stress that only the development of artificial breeding
methods, rather than relying on harvesting from natural populations, would
ensure an abundant and continuous supply.
authors discuss several taboos, but relative to termite queens they state:
"Children are forbidden to eat the queens for several reasons, not
all of which have to do directly with safety to health. Children form a large proportion of the farm hands, and the
elders believe that if the young ones are allowed to eat the queens they
will cherish the insects and spend so much of their time searching for
them, that productivity in the fields will be reduced." From similar
reasoning, children are discouraged from eating palm weevil larvae:
"As the larvae taste so good, the young ones are likely to become
preoccupied with felling palm trees to provide more breeding sites and a
bumper harvest of larvae. Indiscriminate
felling of trees would deprive the community of primary palm products such
as palm oil, palm kernals, and palm wine."
R.H. 199 1. Use of insects by Australian Aborigines.
Amer. Entomologist 37(l):
8-13. Everglades Research and
Education Center, University of Florida, Belle Glade FL 33430.
author discusses insects as part of Aborigine cultural beliefs and their
use as food and medicine. While
most entomologists have ready access to ESA's American Entomologist, many
of our readers do not, so we quote a large part of four paragraphs:
"An interesting example of the mass harvesting of edible insects is
the moth feasts that occurred in the Bogong mountains of New South Wales. The Bogong moth, Agrotis
injiisa (Boisduval), aestivated in large numbers every year on rock
shelters of these mountains. From
November to January, hundreds of Aborigines from different tribes would
gather for huge feasts on these adult moths.
Rock crevices were covered with layers of these moths, which were
collected by dislodging and then collecting the moths from the cave or
crevice floor. Moths were
then cooked in sand and stirred in hot ashes, which singed off the wings
and legs. Moths were then sifted in a net to remove their heads.
In this state, they were generally eaten, although sometimes they
were ground into a paste and made into cakes.
As a food, the Bogong moth was rich in fat ....
(1970) states that the larva of
Xyleutes leucomochla Turn. is the true witchety grub of the
Aborigines. Witchety grubs
(larvae) are found in the roots of Acacia bushes, commonly known as the
witchety bush in central Australia. These
grubs were the most important insect food of the desert and were a much
valued staple in
The Food Insects
diet of the Aborigines - especially women and children.
Men also loved the grubs, but would seldom dig them.
The grubs were collected by digging up the roots and chopping them
to obtain the grubs within. The
grubs can be eaten raw or can be cooked in ashes.
Cooking causes the grubs to swell and their skins to stiffen.
Cooked witchety grubs frequently have been likened in taste to
almonds (Isaacs 1987). The
larvae are rich in calories, protein, and fat.
Ten large grubs are sufficient to provide the daily needs of an
adult (Australian National Commission of UNESCO 1973).
honeypot ants were a highly valued food that provided a source of sugar
for the Aborigines of central Australia.
Workers of the honeypot ants (Melophorus
bagoti Lubbock and Camponotus spp.) gather honeydew from scale insects and psyllids, and feed it to
other workers, which become mere nectar storage vessels with greatly
enlarged abdomens. These
helpless replete ants, which regurgitate some of their nectar when
solicited by other workers, are kept safe in deep underground galleries
(Norris 1970). The ants were
obtained by scraping the surface of the ground to find the vertical shaft
of the nest that led down to horizontal chambers where the honeypot ants
were located. Vertical shafts
may be dug down to almost two meters (Mountford 1976).
popular source of sugar in the Aborigine's diet was the honeybag (hive) of
stingless native bees (Trigona spp.).
To locate the honeybag, the Aborigines caught a bee feeding on pollen, and
after attaching to it a leaf or petal by means of sticky juices of certain
plants, let it go. The bee
would fly straight to the hive and the item it was carrying not only would
make it easy to see, but also would result in its flight being lower and
slower, thus, it was easily followed by the hunter (Massola 1971). Also, when looking for honey, Aborigines watched for small,
black lizards, which often lived in honey trees and fed upon the bees as
they returned to the hive. To
obtain the honeybag, a tree could be cut down or, if the tree were large,
a hole could be cut in the tree under the hive.
A stick could then be poked into the hive and stirred about until
the honey ran down the stick into a bark basket (Roughsey 1971).
When the honey was extracted from the hive, it usually was mixed up
with honeycomb, bees, immature bees, and eggs.
The Aborigines put the lot into their mouths and spat out the
inedible parts (Crawford 1968)."
notes that the Aborigine population, estimated at more than 300,000 before
1770, is now down to about 160,000 and that about two-thirds of them now
live in cities and have adopted suburban lifestyles. This article was reprinted in Pest
Control Technology, February 1992.
For more on the Bogong moth, see November 1992 Newsletter. For more on
Australian honey ants, see the March 1990 Newsletter.
J.; Dugan, S.; Feldman, N.; Mitchell, R. 1993.
Native Americans in California surveyed on diets, nutrition needs.
Calif. Agric. 47(3):8-10.
Some 500 descendants of the Miwok-speaking Native Americans live in Mariposa County, the county where Yosemite National Park is located. Joanne Ikeda et al (1993) report that 50% of the families
below the federal poverty level; "With little money and no access to
major grocery chains, many families cannot buy the kind of food that
supports an adequate diet...... We quote from two paragraphs in the
families augmented their food supply in traditional ways: 47% gathered
wild berries, nuts, mushrooms and other plants; 67% said their
grandparents and parents traditionally used wild plants as foods, and 8 1
% said this knowledge had been passed on to them by their elders ... [22%
gardened, 26% fished, 14% hunted].... Many Miwok recalled foods their grandparents ate
that they do not eat: insects such as pine tree worms, Monarch butterfly
larvae [Ed.: questionable] and grasshoppers; animals like squirrel, Mono
Lake shrimp, quail, deer, rabbit, bear and hedge hog; and plant foods such
as acorn mush, pine nuts, wild vegetables and berries.
Some of these foods, particularly the insects, are not considered
food by the dominant culture. This
may have influenced these native Americans to abandon them as food
Thanks to David Strange, MD, Petaluma, California, for calling
attention to this recent study. Earlier
studies of the Miwok had also reported the use of insect foods.
Gail. 1993 (August). Wax
worm fritters (and other edible delights).
Bee Culture 121 (8):448-449.
that "Beekeepers have ready access to two of the tastiest edibles,
" this article focuses on the greater wax moth larva and bee brood,
reprinting a recipe for wax worm fritters by Sharon Elliot, head chef New
York Parties (this recipe was also printed in the July 1992
The Food Insects
Limits (from page one)
consequence of traumatic stimulation of the arthropod selected as a food
item. In general, the natural
products synthesized by arthropods are externalized from glands and in a
sense constitute the first line of chemical defense.
Furthermore, some species synthesize compounds that are often
unique animal natural products but these compounds are not discharged from
exocrine glands but rather, fortify the blood and of course the whole
body. As a consequence, the
toxic effects of these products may not be realized until the insect is
injured and the toxin-laden blood comes into contact with the predator's
while these nonexocrine compounds are not discharged from specific glands,
in some species they may nevertheless be externalized by autohemmorhage
from weakened cuticular areas such as the legs, thorax, orelytra.
For example, hemolymph fortified with pharmacologically active
natural products is characteristically elaborated by reflex bleeding in
the case of species of adult Meloidae (Carrel and Eisner 1974) and
Lampyridae (Blum and Sannasi 1974). Indeed,
the discharge of toxic blood by reflex bleeding appears to be far more
characteristic of beetles than species of any other order.
is imperative that the insect gourmand learn to recognize both
phanerotoxic and cryptotoxic species in order to avoid a traumatic assault
on both the palate and the intestine.
Cryptotoxic species produce toxic nonexocrine secretions as
previously described, but in some cases the active compound(s) may be
localized in a single structure rather than fortifying the blood.
For example, females of the meloid Lyua
vesicatoria localize cantharidin in the ovaries and
eggs (Sierra et al. 1976), their cryptotoxicity becoming devastatingly
evident when their reproductive system is exposed to the sensitive oral
and enteric tissues of a naive predator.
On the other hand, a phanerotoxic species possesses an apparatus
for synthesizing, storing, and injecting the venomous products.
Phanerotoxic species may not be readily evident, as is the case for
the larvae of many satumiid species which possess clusters of venom-filled
spines that are rendered invisible by being enveloped by dense hairs.
Obviously the poison apparatuses of bees, wasps, and ants are so
conspicuously phanerotoxic--and distasteful--as to require little comment.
vs. Internal Toxicity
For the entomophage, it is of great importance to be able to discriminate
against toxic insect species before they become gastrointestinal
disasters, the victim possibly subjected to exaggerated waves of reverse
peristalsis, or worse. Fortunately, a multitude of decidedly toxic insects
advertise, as external vesicants, the adverse pharmacological effects of
their natural products and they are clearly marked as species that should
be immediately rejected as food items.
This is particularly true for lepidopterous larvae in a variety of
families (Kawamoto and Kumacla 1984) and adult beetles in several
families. In short, the
well-developed vesicatory properties of diverse insects often translate
into considerable internal toxicity for a variety of toxinological reasons
that will be discussed subsequently.
Phanerotoxic vs. Cryptotoxic Species A large variety of insect species posses a true venom apparatus that generally includes a
gland, reservoir, venom duct, and a device for injecting the venom.
Venomous secretions are produced by species in the orders
Hymenoptera, Hemiptera, and Lepidoptera, and their secretions are
delivered by either retractile stings, piercing mouth parts, or urticating
setae. These obviously
venomous insects are refer-red to as
phanerotoxic species and contrast to cryptotoxic
species whose toxicity is not manifested until the insect is ingested.
Often the toxins produced by phanerotoxic species are only active
by injection and these venomous compounds are inactivated in the
gastrointestinal tract. However,
as will be described in the next section, ingestion of some phanerotoxic
insects could constitute a lot more than just a bad gustatory experience.
Vulnerability vs. Gastrointestinal Detoxicative Defense The larvae of
many lepidopterans possess urticating spicule hairs which are powerful
vesicants; similar reactions are caused by the spine hairs of larvae of
moths in several families (Kawamoto and Kumada 1984).
In addition to these vesicatory hairs, the larvae of some saturniid
species produce powerful fibrinolytic proteinases that have been
implicated in a hemorrhagic syndrome in humans (Amarant et al. 199 1).
For the most part, the active compounds are believed to be proteins
that should be readily inactivated in the gastrointestinal tract.
Despite enteric detoxication of these vesicatory toxins, a modicum
of caution is recommended in order to ensure that disasterous larval
revenge does not occur.
the toxic compounds present in larval urticating hairs are in all
probability proteinaceous constituents that can be facilely hydrolyzed
(detoxified) in the intestine, major oral injuries can occur before the
ingested larva becomes an intestinal victim.
In short, the oral cavity is probably very susceptible to the
pernicious effects of these lepidopterous toxins.
The entomophage may also be vulnerable to the impaling of spines in
the esophagous and elsewhere in the oral region, which could result in a
real toxic overload. It is
advisable to know your larval lepidopteran (Blake and Wagner 1987) before
an Ingested Insect's Biochemical Constituents Become Toxins
by Augmenting the Concentration of the Same Compounds in the Host When a human predator ingests an insect with
which it shares a pharmacologically active agent, this compound can
constitute a true toxin if applied in a toxic dose under Coca conditions (Vogt 1970). For
example, high concentrations of histamine, a known algogen, are
characteristic of hymenopterous venoms and several biogenic amines have
been identified in the venoms of wasps and honey bees (Owen 197 1).
The richest source of acetylcholine in the animal kingdom is the
venom of Vespa crabro (Bhoola
et al 1961), raising the question of what effect on an entomophage
would result if a concentrated intrusion of this neurotransmitter was
introduced into the gastrointestinal tract.
In short, insect-derived compounds may constitute cryptic toxins
whose roles as dangerous physiological agents are not easily recognized
because these biochemicals are identical to agents utilized by the host in
relatively low concentrations. "Too
much of anything, however, especially biogenic amines, is not necessarily
a good thing."
SEE ENTOMOPHAGY LIMITS, P. 7
The Food Insects
youths eating burgers and fries instead of ant pudding,
laments a tribal elder.
tribal members are considering whether to let the government store its
radioactive nuclear waste on their reservation, creating badly needed jobs
and economic growth, according to a story in The
Sunday Oregonian of June 27, 1993.
The reservation is in
a remote area at the Oregon-Nevada border.
Ernestine Coble, 46, tribal council chairwoman, who was quoted at
length, believes that the old values are slipping away and she would like
to save the ones that remain. For
instance, her grandmother would say, "Well, we're going to have ant
pudding. You'd better get
ready. We're going to have to
leave when the sun comes up."
Ernestine's job was to put on warm clothing and to carry an empty coffee
can. They would hike around
the res (short for reservation). Her
grandmother would spot a mound, lift the top like an old straw hat, and
scoop out balls of cold-numbed ants.
They were put into the coffee can and cooked on the old wood stove.
Ernestine said that the ant pudding was not her favorite food, but
it was a tradition and an anchor to a world of power and solidarity.
The editor mentions this story for two reasons, first, I had not heard the term, "ant pudding" before, although ants and their pupae were widely eaten by Indian tribes in the West, and secondly, it reveals that the older generation of Paiutes in Oregon were still eating their insect foods as recently as 1955 (age 46 minus age 8 = 38 years ago).
Limits (from page six)
Steroids and Corticosteroids from Beetles--And a Lot More.
Coleopterans are preeminent in the biosynthesis of steroids
other than ecdysteroids, and for the entomophage it is best to exercise
considerable restraint before ingesting these insects.
For example, about 20 steroids have been identified as prothoracic
gland products of species in the family Dytiscidae (Schildknect 1970), and
many of these compounds are either identical to vertebrate steroids or
constitute unique triterpenes that are closely related to these hormones.
Indeed, since dytiscid species in only seven genera have been
subjected to analytical scrutiny (Blum 198 1), it is very likely that a
host of steroidal surprises will be forthcoming when species in other
genera are analyzed. However,
it is already evident that the dytiscid prothoracic glands rival the
endocrine glands of vertebrates in biosynthesizing steroids with powerful
physiological activity, for everything from fish to mammals.
Let the eclectic entomophage beware of dytiscids and other
coleopterans as well!
steroids have been identified as exocrine products of Ilybius fenestratus and these include testosterone and
1,2-dehydrotestosterone (Schildknect 1970).
In addition, this secretion contains estrone and 17B-estradiol.
Conceivably, prolonged ingestion or sucking this beetle could
result in a real anabolic effect characterized by nitrogen retention and
skeletal muscle enlargement (Gilman et al 1980). Although
prolonged ingestion of dytiscid steroids may result in the entomophage
possessing a body similar to that of Hercules, there may be untoward
effects that militate against this means of achieving the perfect
physique. Younger males could experience serious disturbances of growth
and sexual and osseous development.
Edema, jaundice, and hepatic carcinoma can result from prolonged ingestion of anabolic steroids; azoospermia and impotence may also be the consequence of a long-term beetle diet containing these hormones. For female entomophages, the danger of masculization is very real as a consequence of a diet of dytiscids fortified with these androgens (Gilman et al 1980). Women may experience a deepening of the voice, develop body hair, and suddenly show a tendency toward baldness, probably too great a price to pay for the epicurean delight of dytiscids!
vertebrates, steroids such as testosterone may constitute considerably
more than anabolic stimulators. When
toads (Bufo and Pelobates spp.) ingested adults of two dytiscid species in the genus
Ilybius, the beetles, often
alive, were rapidly regurgitated, enveloped by a bloody slime (Schildknecht
et al. 1967). The prothoracic gland secretion of Ilybius species is dominated by testosterone and contains
1,2-dehydrotestosterone as well. The
protective role of anabolic steroids for vertebrates is also demonstrated
by the fact that testosterone is a powerful stupaficient for goldfish,
causing rapid paralysis of the carp.
These steroids have been presumably evolved to act as deterrents
for fish and amphibians, two of the potentially major groups of predators
for these water beetles.
addition to anabolic steroids, dytiscids generate a large variety of
steroids, some of which are identical to well known vertebrate
corticosteroids whereas others are novel triterpenes (Schildknecht 1970). For example, about 0.4 mg of cortexone, the major steroid in
the secretion of the beetle Dytiscus
marginalis, is present in the prothoracic glands of an adult (Schildknecht
et aL 1966). This corresponds to the amount of steroid that can be
extracted from I 000 ox suprarenal glands and suggests that these
corficosteroids may constitute powerful deterrents for selected
vertebrates. Mineral cortical
steroids such as cortexone are capable of destabilizing the
sodium-potassium balance, and it is significant that pike and trout are
rapidly narcotized by Dytiscus secretion or by cortexone, just as they are by testosterone
(Schildknecht et al 1966).
is important to recognize that corticosteroids exhibit a potpourri of
toxic effects that are observed either after withdrawal of the steroids or
as a consequence of continued use of these compounds (Gilman et al. 1980).
Acute adrenal insufficiency can result from too rapid withdrawal of
corticosteroids, whereas prolonged dytiscid tasting or ingestion could
result in pituitary-adrenal suppression, increased susceptibility to
infection, peptic ulceration, myopathy, and behavioral disturbances.
Although dytiscids may be delicious, it would seem advisable to
avoid them as prey items.
are produced by beetles in other families, and even though pharmacological
data are lacking, it would seem desirable to discriminate against them as
food items. The cardiac
SEE ENTOMOPHAGY LIMITS, P. 8
The Food Insects
Limits (from page seven)
final word of dytiscid caution seems advisable for resolute entomophagous
predators. The steroidally
fortified secretions of all species of Dytiscidae that have been analyzed
consist of mixtures that may contain at least seven compounds.
It is not unlikely that interactive pharmacological effects may
result from these mixtures, the steroids of which may be present in
inordinately high concentration. Conceivably, vertebrate predators that ingest dytiscids may
experience considerably greater toxicity than would be anticipated based
on the activity of individual steroids.
Feeding deterrency studies have almost invariably emphasized tests
with single compounds, in spite of the fact that mixtures are, almost
without exception, a defensive sine
qua non. So beware of mixtures--they
can hurt you!
Cyanogenic Menu for Entomophagous Rejection A wellknown member of the
snapper family, Lutjianus argentimaculatus, employs the same strategy as an
archerfish in order to obtain food. This
mangrove snapper ejects ajet of water from its mouth which is aimed at a
variety of animals that are on the leaves overhanging the stream in which
L argentimaculatus is found.
While the archerfish technique for securing prey is admirable, it
is not without life threatening hazards.
Sometimes the aqueous "bullet" launched by the mangrove
snapper dislodges the millipede Polyconoceras allosus, a
cyanogenic species. Ingestion
of this polydesmoid diplopod results in an almost instantaneous death for
the snapper (Johannes 1981). Cyanide-producing
arthropods may be more than repellent for a predator--they may be deadly!
Although hydrogen cyanide combines and inhibits a variety of mammalian enzymes (e.g., carbonic anhydrase, succinate dehydrogenase), the great toxicity of this compound primarily reflects its great affinity for ferric iron in cytochrome oxidase, the last enzyme in the cytochrome system (Curry 1992). The binding of cyanide to cytochrome oxidase stops electron transport with a consequent fall in oxygen consumption and ATP production, a thoroughly perilous state of affairs. The known distribution of cyanogenic animals is limited to species in three arthropodous classes--Chilopoda, Diplopoda, and Insecta (Duffey 198 1). In the Insecta, cyanide-producing species have only been detected in selected taxa in the orders Lepidoptera (Jones et al. 1962) and Coleoptera (Moore 1967; Blum et al. 1981). Larvae of the moth Zygaena trifolii are very unusual in sequestering the same cyanogens from their host plant that they synthesize de novo (Nahrstedt and Davis 1986). Cyanogenic lepidopterans (all stages) are also found in the Nymphalidae and Heliconidae, usually in species that are very aposematic or involved in mimicry complexes (Nahrstedt and Davis 198 1). Although many of these species develop on plants that are fortified with toxic natural products (e.g., pyrrolizidine alkaloids), these lepidopterans do not sequester these compounds but rather biosynthesize cyanogens (Brown and Francini 1990).
beetles have not been encountered frequently, having only been detected in
species in the families Chrysomelidae and Cicindellidae.
It would appear that the cyanogenic chrysomelids in the genera Chrysophtharta
and Paropsis (Moore 1967) are exceptional in producing defensive
allomones that are atypical for members of this family.
The production of cyanide by adults of the tiger beetle Megacephala
virginica (Blum et al. 1981) may also be regarded as unusual since no
members of the closely related family Carabidae have been demonstrated to
produce cyanogenic allomones.
the adventurous entomophage eat these aposematic lepidopterans and
beetles? The levels of
cyanide produced by individual insects should hardly constitute a real
toxinological hazard, but in the absence of good information about
cyanogenic insects being eminently benign, discretion would seem to be the
best part of epicurean valor. It
is worth recognizing the possibility that the defensive arsenals of these
sundry arthropods may contain more than cyanide, and they do!
for Sniffing--And a Lot More The aromatic hydrocarbon toluene is
widely used as a solvent for products such as varnishes and glues.
This compound is a central nervous system depressant and confusion,
weakness, and fatigue can result from exposure to low concentrations
(Gilman et al. 1980). The CNS
effects of solvents such as toluene are responsible for the practice of
"glue sniffing" and demonstrate its considerable pharmacological
activity when administered in the vapor phase.
Beetles in selected genera constitute real toluene factories, and
as a consequence could be regarded as potential subjects for the practice
of "beetle sniffing"!
beetles in the genera Stenocentrus
and Syllitus produce toluene-dominated secretions in their mandibular
glands and, in addition, the phenolic constituent o-cresol (Moore and
Brown 197 1). These defensive
secretions, which constitute the only known sources of toluene in the
Arthropoda, should probably be "off limits" for either
"beetle sniffing" or ingestion.
Sniffing the secerambycids could result in the well-recognized
toxic effects resulting from exposure to low levels of toluene.
These include ocular and respiratory irritation, dizziness, and
decrement in motor performance (Sullivan and Van Ert 1992).
Major acute and chronic effects have also been reported after
exposure to toluene. Cresols
have also been reported to cause significant public health effects such as
dermal injury and in some cases central nervous system, kidney, and liver
injury (Geehr and Salluzzo 1992). All
and all, these longhorn beetles can hardly be recommended for either
sniffing or ingesting.
and Aposematic Staphylinids are not for Eating There are times when
determined entomophagy must yield to insects that fairly scream their
dangerous unpalatability. This
is certainly the case for the warningly colored beetles in the genus Paederus,
the members of which contain a powerful vesicant that is detected when
the beetles are crushed. The
major vesicant produced by these staphylinids is pederin, a novel amide
that is the most complex nonproteinaceous compound identified in insects (Pavan
SEE ENTOMOPHAGY LIMITS, P. 9
The Food Insects
Limits (from page eight)
range of pharmacological activities possessed by pederin marks it as a
compound to be avoided at all costs.
is a powerful inhibitor of protein synthesis and mitosis as well (Pavan
1975). The vesicatory
properties of this amide produce pronounced cutaneous sores and ocular
lesions (Pavan 1963) which, when combined with its inordinately high
toxicity, mark it as a defensive compound par excellence.
Curiously, pederin, in very low concentrations, has the remarkable
ability to promote the healing of dermal lesions such as bed sores (Pavan
1975). However, when it comes to Paederus,
"let the gourmet beware"!
Producing Necrotoxic Alkaloids are to be Avoided--At all
Costs In the New World the
biomass generated by colonies of some species of the fire ants Solenopsis (Solenopsis) may approximate 250,000 workers, but this
potential food resource is too dangerous to consider even as an occasional
feast enjoyed by the most n-tithradatic entomophage. In short, the venomous chemical arsenals possessed by the
aggressive fire ant workers constitute powerful tissue toxins, which, when
combined with their pronounced algogenicity, render them eminently
unsuited for ingestion.
poison gland secretions of fire ants are dominated by alkaloids that are
related to coniine, the hemlock-derived compound that was responsible for
the death of Socrates. The
nitrogen heterocycles produced in the venoms of fire
ants are 2,6-dialkylpiperidines (MacConnell et
al. 197 1), novel alkaloids that are characteristic of Solenopsis
(Solenopsis) spp .(MacConnell
et al, 1976). The cytotoxicity of these compounds is demonstrated by their
abilities to produce rapid necrosis after injection into the human derma (Caro
al, 1957). Sterile
pustules at the sting sites characterize the reactions of human beings to
encounters with the typically aggressive workers, all of which seem
determined to inject a venomous "cocktail" into the source of
the disturbance. Since these
alkaloids, after ingestion, are probably considerably more stable than
venom derived proteins, they may be capable of manifesting real toxicity in
the gastrointestinal tract. Indeed,
there is considerable evidence that piscine predators feed on fire ants at
their own peril.
Mortality of bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus) has been reported in ponds after these fish had fed upon masses of fire ant workers that floated from mounds during conditions of flooding (Green and Hutchins 1960). Several grams of workers were reported to be in the stomachs of the dead sunfish. Although feeding ants under field conditions did not result in extensive mortality of these bluegills, introduction of macerated fire ants by gavage or directly into the aquarium water produced immediate intoxication and rapid death. Furthermore, it has been suggested that fire ant workers may kill bluegills by extensively stinging the stomach lining, thus inducing intoxication even before the ants are transported to the intestine (Ferguson 1962). Although these studies were undertaken with fire ant workers, it has been reported that female alates of S. richteri can kill sunfishes or frequently cause temporary intoxication (Crance 1965).
the entomophage chooses to ignore the toxic trials and tribulations of
bluegills feeding on dialkylpiperidine-fortified fire ants, she/he should
not forget what happened to Socrates when he was introduced to a related
nitrogen heterocycle. A word
to the wise-alkaloid--should be sufficient.
Necrosis, Edema, Enteritis, and Lepidopterous Larvae Human
entomophages who have been fortunate enough to sample outstanding insect
delicacies rank selected insect larvae as some of the world's great taste
sensations. Succulent scarab
larvae would delight even the most fastidious gourmet, and a large variety
of lepidopterous larvae would render any meal a special occasion.
This is particularly the case for the Paiute Indians who consider
the pandora moth, Coloradia Pandora lindseyi, an extremely delicious food source
(Blake and Wagner 1987). However,
the Paiutes might be shocked to learn that the saturniid that they covet
had relatives that are truly capable of causing major pathological
reactions. For the
entomophage, immature lepidopterans must not be considered as appropriate
snacks until it is established that "the skin (cuticle) fits the
bones" in terms of their suitability as food items.
lepidopterans have been identified in at least 13 families and for the
most part these constitute species of adult and larval moths (Kawamota and
Kumada 1984). Pathological
conditions resulting from human encounters with lepidopterans has been
termed lepidopterism and may result in pronounced dermatitis, severe
algogenic reactions, and allergenicity.
For example, in Japan about 200,000 people experienced severe
dermatitis after contact with the Oriental tussock moth Euproctis
subflava (Asahina and Ogata 1956); E.
similis is reported to have caused dermatitis in at least 500,000
people in the city of Shanghai, China (DeLong 1981).
This type of dermatitis is frequently characterized by pruritus,
swelling, erythema, pain, and in some cases necrosis. However, the poison-bearing spines of some lepidopterous
larvae can cause histopathological reactions of great severity that in
some cases are life threatening.
hairs of caterpillars have been reported to cause ophthalmic and
respiratory injuries, and the dedicated entomophage will do well to note
that ingestion of larvae in the genera Thaumetapoea
and Hemileuca by humans
caused intense stomatitis or enteritis (Pesce and Delgado 197 1). Allergenicity which is manifested by dermatitis may
characterize the reaction to a variety of caterpillar hairs. Most frequently vasodilation and edema mark the site of the
skin lesion (Kawamoto and Kumada 1984) but in the case of saturniid larvae
in the genus Lonomia, reactions
are so severe as to sometimes require hospitalization (Fraiha Neto et
al. 1985). For example,
contact with larvae of L achelous can
result in severe hematomas accompanied by extensive hemorrhaging. Recently, the biochemistry of the Ionomia toxins and their pharmacology have been elucidated as the
first example of the structural determination of compounds in caterpillar
substances found in the saliva and hemolymph of L. achelous have been associated with serious hemorrhagic reactions of
individuals that have had dermal contact with larvae of this
SEE ENTOMOPRAGY LIMITS, P. 10
he Food Insects
Limits (from page nine)
(Archoa-Pinango and Layrisse 1969). The
plasma of patients possesses potent fibrinolytic activity which persists
for about a month; fibrinogen levels are reduced considerably for a
prolonged period of time (Arocha-Pinango et
aL 1988). Two proteinases
are responsible for the fibrinolytic activity of L achelous
larvae, and these compounds degrade all three chains of fibrin in a
pattern indistinguishable from that of trypsin (Amarantetal. 1991).
The enzymes, apparent isozymes, termed achelase I and achelase H,
utilized chromogenic peptides (e.g., kallikrein) as substrates whereas
serine proteinases (e.g., thrombin) were not hydrolyzed. The presence of the classic triad (histidine-41, apartate 86,
and serine 189) suggests that the achelases may be serine proteinases.
is not unlikely that, as is the case for the Ionomia fibrinolytic proteinases, larval toxins are generally
proteinaceous constituents. Consequently,
larvaphilic entomophages may be encouraged to sample immature
lepidopterans, feeling that proteinaceous toxins may be readily degraded
in the gastrointestinal tract. While
this may or may not be true, events preceding enteric introduction of the
larvae may constitute a histopathological disaster.
Dermal contact may result in severe pharmacological reactions, but
the worst may be yet to come! Once
a larva is placed in the mouth, contact with the oral
mucosa may produce rapid dermatitis and tissue swelling as the initial
steps in a hierarchy of severe pathological events.
All things considered, more than a scintilla of caution should be
exercised before taking gastronomic liberties with insect larvae.
Beetle of Aphrodite and the Marquis de Sade: Tale of a Pernicious
Anhydride Named Cantharidin It may come as a surprise to realize that
2000 years ago Hippocrates used an insect natural product to treat a
pathological condition (dropsy) and more recently this compound was
recommended for the treatment of venereal diseases, strangury, and bladder
and kidney infections (Howell and Ford 1985).
Cantharidin, a potent vesicant produced by species in the family
Meloidae, has also been recommended as a counter-irritant for painful
conditions such as pleurisy and sciatica. However,
it is its long-standing reputation as an aphrodisiac that has led to the
utilization of cantharidin as a sexual stimulant.
Unfortunately, fatal and near-fatal poisonings have resulted from
the use of cantharidin as an aphrodisiac, and in some cases this corrosive
compound has been used as a poison per se (Howell and Ford 1985).
This compound is an unusual corrosive in not acting immediately,
but it more than makes up for its toxic delay by devastatingly corroding
the linings of the tongue, palate, and throat.
Probably this insect natural product, first prepared from the
European meloid Lytta vesicatoria, has
been served to more people than any other arthropod-derived compound.
For the entomophage, this anhydride and insect, variously termed
Spanish fly and blister beetle, have such a frighteningly checkered
history that ingestion of meloids can only be considered as an act of the
worst pathological masochism!
The Marquis de Sade was beheaded in absentia for nearly killing two prostitutes by giving them aniseed sweets laced with cantharidin. The alleged aphrodisiacal properties of this compound made it an ideal agent for promoting the licentious activities of de Sade, but
for his victims, the Spanish fly
caused devastating pathological conditions.
Cantharidin's aphrodisiacal reputation is probably associated with
its ability, in minute quantities, to cause bladder and kidney irritation,
an aching of the pelvis, and the painful voiding of urine with a sensation
of burning. These pelvic
discomforts were believed to arouse the female and to inflame in her a
desire for sexual intercourse (Howell and Ford 1985).
Nothing could be further from the truth!
the male, the action of cantharidin is similarly pernicious, and may
involve additional painful discomforts.
Prolonged and painful erections can result from cantharidin
ingestion but this priapism can hardly arouse a man to passionate
demonstrations. Indeed, such
dolorous erections may result from the second-hand ingestion of
cantharidin as resulted with French troops about 140 years ago.
Vizien (1861) recognized that the urethritise experienced by French
troops in Algeria was in reality cantharidian cystitis resulting from the
soldiers eating flesh from frogs ("la chair des grenouilles")
that had feasted on meloids. Vizien
(I 850) was very qualified to recognize this pathology having specialized
in the fevers of Algeria. Vezien
(1861) emphasized that the short-term condition was not serious and that
the soldiers differed greatly in their sensitivity to cantharidin.
Similarly, Meynier (1893) encountered cantharidian cystitis in
Zouaves and chasseurs who had eaten frogs legs in Algeria and as was the
case with Vizien (I 86 1), the relationship between meloids, frogs, and
humans was inescapable. Erections
notwithstanding, the general weakness and lassitude of the soldiers
rendered them eminently incapable of any sexual fantasies.
Fortunately, as emphasized by Meynier (I 893), the triad of blister
beetle, frog, and man appears to be rare.
the extreme oral toxicity of cantharidin is not enough, it has long been
recognized that this compound can penetrate unbroken skin with toxic, if
not fatal, results (Howell and Ford 1985).
In the event of a laceration, cantharidin can be internalized very
rapidly. Recently, Eisner et
al. (1990) demonstrated that frogs sequestered cantharidin after
administration of blister beetles or pure compound.
Levels of stored cantharidin diminished quite rapidly.
vast number of insect species are available for immediate consumption or
for subsequent gourmet cooking with everything that implies ("bon
knowledgeable entomophage can experience an infinite variety of delightful
taste experiences, provided that she or he exercises a modicum of
recognitive awareness. As I
have endeavored to emphasize, when it comes to eating, not all insects are
equal for the human entomophage. Species
that are well protected from vertebrate predators should probably be
avoided, and this would certainly be the case for aposematic species.
The gourmand's life can await you, however, if you select your
insects with the same care that you select your sauces.
On the other hand, if you are the 'devil may care' type, then it
will not prove surprising if your gustatory experience results in
SEE REFERENCES, P. 11
The Food Insects
Cited (Entomophagy Limits)
T., Burkhart, W., Levine, H., Arocha-Pinango, C.L., Parikh, I. 1991.
Isolation and complete amino acid sequence of two fibrinolytic
proteinases from the toxic saturnid caterpillar Lonomia
achelous. Bio Chem. Biophys.
Acta 1079:214-221. 55-757.
A.G., Goodman, L.S., Gilman, A. 1980.
The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 6th Edition. New York: Macmillan Publ.
insectes du genre Mylabris de la
famille des meloides. Arch.
Medicine Pharm. Militaires
insectes du genre Mylabris de la
famille des meloides. Arch.
Medicine Pharm. Militaires
The Food Insects
little books that are different:
Cuisine, Photography by Al Clayton, Text and Styling by Mary Ann Clayton,
1992, viii + 54 pp., Longstreet Press, Inc., 2140 Newmarket Parkway, Suite
118, Marietta, GA 30067, $15.95. Dreadful
Delicacies, 1993, viii +
50 pp. Other data same as for
the best way to describe these two books would be to have the author, Mary
Ann Clayton, explain the rationale behind them as she did in a letter to
the Editor: "Please find enclosed copies of Critter Cuisine and Dreadful Delicacies. My husband and I produced these two books as spoofs of
what I call "gourmet mania", an affliction that is quite
widespread in the U.S. We hope the books will encourage people to really
examine what they eat and why they eat it. Your interest and research in
entomophagyis an inspiration to this cause.
Although we did not choose to include actual recipes in these books
we intended them to get the message across that our own particular
prejudices can deprive us of some very intriguing gastronomic. adventures
and that readers will be encouraged to broaden their culinary
book jacket for Critter Cuisine provides
another bit of insight of value to cooks everywhere: "Designed both
to celebrate our gastronomic diversities and test our eating preferences, Critter
Cuisine solves a perennial question: What can I serve that I've never
If you can't guess what that might be, how about mouse kabobs (using whole
photographed, as are the other 20 offerings.
Only one uses insects - beetle salad (with intact Japanese
beetles). In Dreadful
Delicacies, however, 10 of the 19 offerings are insects, plus two
others of earthworms.
with Bugs, A Journal with Words and Drawings by
Gwynn Popovac, 1993, pages unnumbered, Pomegranate Artbooks, Box 6099,
Rohnert Park, CA 94927,$17.95 plus $3.95 for shipping and handling.
little book has nothing to do with insects as food, but I will borrow a
paragraph from my letter to Ms. Popovac to describe it: "Thanks very
much for sending me a copy of your 'blank journal," Conservations with Bugs. The
paintings of insects 'set in decorative shrines' are just beautiful.
You may be an amateur entomologist, but you obviously are not an
amateur artist. And I can't
say how impressed I am with the inspirational way in which you have
combined the two."
Eisner offered this: "A Gem! For insect lovers, and for those in need
of discovering insects...." So far, the Chicago Art Institute and the
Smithsonian have it in their shops, and the Xerces Society and the
Entomological Society of America are printing notices and reviews.