Ant Eggs: The Pupae used as food in various cultures

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In certain cultures around the world, you may come across a rather unique delicacy - ant eggs. While this might seem surprising to some, the consumption of ant eggs as food is a longstanding tradition for many communities. For example, as we have discussed before here at Mint Message, there is a dish known as "escamoles" that uses ant eggs as the main staple of the dish.

Escamoles are typically harvested from the nests of a species of large ants called Liometopum apiculatum. These ants construct intricate nests underground, where they lay their eggs. The eggs are collected by experienced gatherers and then carefully prepared for consumption. Escamoles have been consumed since the day of the Aztecs and have a texture similar to cottage cheese.

Ant eggs are not just food in the nation of Mexico, but they are eaten in parts of Asia like Thailand, especially in parts of Northern Thailand. For example, the picture for this article is an image of leaves packed with ant larvae for food that is located in a location in northern Thailand, where ant eggs are used for food as a common delicacy.

While ant eggs might not be a common sight on Western menus, they hold cultural significance and are considered a delicacy in certain communities. It's important to note, however, that eating ant eggs comes with potential risks, such as allergic reactions or the consumption of toxic species. Experts advise caution and proper identification before consuming any wild-harvested insects or their eggs.

Sources:

- [1] Smith, B. D. (2008). The Archaeology of Food Preference. Annual Review of Anthropology, 37(1), 199–208. doi: 10.1146/annurev.anthro.37.081407.085246

- [2] Ramos-Elorduy, Julieta. (2009). Anthropo-entomophagy: Cultures, evolution and sustainability. Entomological Research, 39(5), 271-288. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-5967.2009.00260.x


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