Identification and classification of common edible insects in Ghana
Jacob P Anankware, Enoch A Osekre, Daniel Obeng-Ofori, Canute Khamala M
A survey was conducted to identify and taxonomically classify the major neglected and underutilized edible insects of Ghana as the basis for developing programmes for their enhanced utilisation for human food and animal feed. Two thousand questionnaires were administered using key informant interviews, focus group discussions and direct observations to randomly selected respondents in all the ten regions of Ghana. Edible insects from the different study sites were collected and identified in the laboratory. A total of nine different species of major edible insects belonging to four orders were identified. The nine edible insects in Ghana are: the larvae of palm weevil (Rhynchophorus phoenicis Fabricius), termites (Macrotermes bellicosus Smeathman), ground crickets (Scapteriscus vicinus Scudder), field crickets (Gryllus similis Chapman), house cricket (Acheta domesticus Linnaeus), grasshoppers (Zonocerus variegatus Linnaeus), Locusts (Locusta migratoria Linnaeus), caterpillars of the shea tree (Cirina butyrospermi Vuillot) and the larvae of the scarab beetle (Phyllophaga nebulosa Harris). The scarab beetle (2%), field cricket (5%), shea tree caterpillar (8.7%), house cricket (9.5) and the locust (10) were the least consumed insects whereas the larvae of the palm weevil (47.2%), termites (45.9%), ground cricket (33.3%) and grasshopper (30.5%) were the most consumed insects in Ghana. Northern Ghana currently dominates in entomophagy; especially the Upper West and Upper East regions where eight out of the nine identified insects are consumed. Whereas termites were consumed in all the ten regions of Ghana, the palm weevil larvae were consumed mainly in the middle belt and Southern Ghana; where the palm tree thrives. The other insects are consumed mainly in the Northern parts of Ghana. Termites, field crickets, ground crickets, house crickets, grasshoppers and locusts are consumed by almost all tribes in Ghana.