Edible Invertebrates Among Amazonian Indians: A Critical Review of Disappearing Knowledge

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Abstract

For the indigenous populations of Amazonia, invertebrates constitute an important component of the diet. We have information on entomophagy for 39 ethnic groups, about 21,4 per cent of the 182 groups known in the Amazon Basin, but the use of this non conventional food resource is probably much more widespread. We present here a data-base of all the information available for each ethnic group regarding the species included in the diet, the scientific and the ethno name if known, the stage of life-cycle consumed, the manner of preparation and, when known, the host plant. This data-base lists 115 species scientifically identified and 131 ethno names. In addition, we have information about other 384 ethno names, with unsecure link to the Linnean taxonomy suggesting that local knowledge is very extensive. The data-base represents not only an easy to consult resource, but also a support for further research. The knowledge of the relations between indigenous populations and ecosystem is indeed the base for the natural and cultural biodiversity preservation.