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Green ants

Edible insects were and still are an important part of the Australian Aboriginal diet. Many insects, larvae and worms of Australia are edible but not all are eaten because of considerable differences in taste. Quite a few are considered delicacies though and are still collected and eaten on a regular basis. Some bushtucker restaurants are now starting to serve witchetty grubs and even a few supermarkets are beginning to sell this well-known and liked edible grub.

Some insects and their larvae are excellent sources of protein and fat. The latter especially was often scarce in the Aboriginal diet. When the season for bogong moths started in summer, hundreds of people met in the mountain regions of Canberra and New South Wales for a feast that lasted several weeks.

The best-known edible insects of Australia are:

  • honey ants
  • green ants (Oecophylla smaragdina)
  • witchetty grubs (Cossidae sp.)

Most insects and larvae are either eaten raw or cooked on the fire very shortly. Witchetty grubs are rolled in the hot ashes of a cooking fire until they are just cooked.

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