SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

In this article I examine the use of insects as food by Tukanoan Indians in the Northwest Amazon and discuss both the characteristics of the species exploited and their significance in the diet. Data on insect collection were obtained from harvest records and participant-observation. Dietary intake was determined from weighed food intake records. The insects collected belonged to over 20 species. The most important in the diet were those which formed large, highly predictable aggregations: beetle larvae (genus Rhynchophorus), ants (genus Atta), termites (genus Syntermes), and caterpillars (families Noctuidae and Saturniidae). The composition of insects is similar to that of other animal foods. Their inclusion in the diet was frequent and inversely related to the consumption of fish and game. They provided up to 12% of the crude protein derived from animal foods in men's diets and 26% in women's diets during one season of the year.