Edible Insects of the World

Edible Insects of the World, Jun Mitsuhashi. Published in Japan (Publisher not known) 1984. 270 pp. (In Japanese; hardcover, price not known)

The author, Dr. Mitsuhashi, wrote in March 1987 that there are no plans, presently at least, for an English language edition. For the small bit of information that we have on the contents of the: book, we are indebted to Dr. Ralph Howard of Kansas State University and Shaohua Liu of UW Department of Entomology. Dr. Howard prevailed upon Japanese colleagues at the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute in Ibaraki for the following “very free translation” of the Table of Contents:

Preface (pp. 1-13)

Chapter 1. General introduction (pp. 14 -17)

Chapter 2. Customs of eating insects, i.e., insects as traditional native foods (pp.18 to 52): 1) by country and region, 2) in Japan

Chapter 3. Descriptions of insects by order and family (pp. 54 to 116): 1) edible insects, 2) toxic or bad tasting insects, 3) edible portions of the insect, 4) edible products of insects, disgusting looking but edible insects

Chapter 4. Cooking methods and nutritional values (pp. 118 to 149): 1) ways of cooking insects and their effects on resulting tastes (many recipes), 2) nutritional values of insects (protein, fat, vitamin, etc.)

Chapter 5. Medically useful insects (pp. 152 to 214): 1) survey of insects by order and family, 2) use of insects for treating diseases

Chapter 6. How to collect a lot of insects (pp. 216 to 242): 16 field collecting (light traps, smokers, sugaring, bait animals, unusual methods), 2) rearing methods (nine species)

Chapter 7. Insects as food of the future (pp. 244 to 253): I) optimization for nutritional aspects, 2) space food

References cited (pp. 254 to 270)

Chapter 2 is further broken down into regions as follows: Oceania Pacific Islands), Australia (pp. 22 to 28); Africa (pp. 28-31); Middle East (pp. 31 to 34); Asia (pp. 34 to 39); North and Central America (pp.39-42); South America (pp. 43-44); Europe (pp. 44 to 45); Japan (pp. 45 to 52). Within each region there is a further breakdown into areas that are more ecological than geopolitical. There are several tables that list the insects by regions. (A more detailed review would be welcomed if someone with the necessary language proficiencies would like to volunteer.)

Recently in the popular press:

Dr. John Phelps of the University of Zimbabwe, Harare, sent the two articles reproduced below. They appeared in the Zimbabwe Herald April 12 and April 15, 1988, respectively:

April 12: Caterpillars find their way to city restaurants

Bulawajo caterpillars, better known as macimbi or madora [the larva of the saturniid, Gonimbrasia belina, also widely known as the “mopanie worm, have wriggled their way into the menus of some small city restaurants and the trend appears to be establishing itself in areas where they do not naturally occur.
If the wave of popularity of the protein rich caterpillars is anything to go by, macimbi are likely to become a feature in similar establish meets in places as far north as Mutare and Chipinge.
In fact, the managing director of a company specializing in dried foods, Mr. Abraham Jassat, is adamant that the caterpillars have always been a popular gourmet item even for people in areas where they do not occur.
“Everyone eats them,” said Mr. Jassat whose company has been packaging the caterpillars for the past six years. He showed our correspondent nearly 90 tonnes of the caterpillars which he bought from villagers. “The season was good for them because of the rains,” he said.
Mr. Jassat, who faces stiff competition from small scale traders, said he was receiving orders from as far off as Mutare, Mt. Darwin, Chinhoyi, Harare and Chiredzi. “In fact we supply the whole country.”
The caterpillars occur in large numbers in a belt stretching from Lupane, along the Botswana border down to Gwanda. Processing involves squeezing out the roughage and boiling them in salted water before drying them in the sun.

April 15th: Harvest from the sky: joy as hopper swarms arrive

Meat will be abundant in Dzivaresekwa during the forthcoming independence celebrations thanks to the grasshoppers [“conenose” grasshoppers, Family Tettigoniidae] which swarmed the area yesterday.
Residents in the high density suburb had been worried by the shortage of meat in butcheries caused by the increased demand for meat throughout the country. They were relieved early yesterday when they awoke and found that grasshoppers had raided the suburb in their thousands. Housewives abandoned their domestic chores to fetch buckets, bottles and tins to fill them with the delicious insects.
The grasshoppers started swarming by 7 am and were still being collected by late afternoon yesterday. By nightfall the swarms had spread over most of Harare including the city centre.