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Eating insects is popular all over the world

February 24, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
About 1,400 insect species are eaten in almost 90 countries in Africa, Latin American and Asia. Here are a few examples: - Thais eat more than 150 insects, including crickets, silk worms and dung beetles. Canned crickets are sold in supermarkets, and vendors selling bugs are a common sight in the capital, Bangkok.

- There are 250 edible insects in Africa. People count on everything from termites to grasshoppers to help them through food emergencies. In southern Africa, the mopane worm has become a multimillion dollar business, with exports to immigrant communities in Europe.

- Rural communities in South America consider various ant species to be a delicacy. The Pemon Indians in Venezuela, for example, cherish fire ants during the rainy season. Big-butt ants in Colombia are considered an aphrodisiac.

- Papuans in Indonesia eat 50 different insects, including honeybee brood, grasshoppers and sago grub. Aborigines in Australia eat jewel beetles, flies and moths, all of which are part of a diet known as bush tucker food.