Entomophagy is the technical term for the consumption of insects and arachnids. Humans in some parts of the world have harvested the eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult forms of certain insects for thousands of years. Eating insects is rare in the developed world but is still common in developing nations and tropical regions. Tropical insects are abundant and exceptionally large, making them an ideal and accessible protein source. Insects also contain carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins. The ecological footprint of human food or fuel sources and issues of land use and climate change have sparked renewed interest in the practice of entomophagy.
Raising insects is much less damaging to the environment than raising livestock. Cattle herds are destructive and contribute to loss of rainforests and other ecosystems. Rainforest property cleared for grazing is depleted within five years, then farmers must clear more land. Insects are five times more efficient than cattle in converting food into edible tissue. Insects also have much higher rates of reproduction than any farmed animal, so they are approximately 20 times more efficient overall in terms of nutritional value and resource use.
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