Insects are often thought of as a nuisance to human beings and merely pests for crops and animals. Yet this
is far from the truth. In fact, eating insects has been practiced throughout history and many people around the
world eat insects out of choice.
The practice of eating insects is known as entomophagy. Many animals, such as spiders, lizards and birds,
are entomophagous, as are many insects. People throughout the world have been eating insects as a regular part
of their diets for millennia. The earliest citing of entomophagy can be found in biblical literature; nevertheless,
eating insects was, and still is, taboo in many westernized societies. The unconventional nature of entomophagy
has meant that farming insects for food and feed has largely been absent from the great agricultural innovations
in livestock farming that emerged in past centuries – with a few exceptions, such as bees, silkworms and scale
insects. Insects have also failed to feature on the agendas of agricultural research and development agencies
worldwide. Until recently, references to insects for food and feed have been largely anecdotal. It is therefore
unsurprising that insects are still lacking from the diets of many rich nations and that their sale for human
consumption remains part of a niche food sector of novelty snacks.
Nevertheless, insect consumption is not a new concept in many parts of the world. From ants to beetle
larvae – eaten by tribes in Africa and Australia as part of their subsistence diets – to the popular, crispy-fried
locusts and beetles enjoyed in Thailand, it is estimated that insect-eating is practiced regularly by at least 2 billion
people worldwide. More than 1,900 insect species have been documented in literature as edible, most of them in
tropical countries. The most commonly eaten insect groups are beetles, caterpillars, bees, wasps, and ants.
Insects deliver a host of ecological services that are fundamental to the survival of humankind. They provide
food and contribute to livelihoods. In the time when it’s more and more difficult to meet the food and nutrition
needs, the practices of gathering insects for food and income definitely worth consideration.
【Group】16. What is the main idea of the passage?
(A) Although eating edible insects has been practiced long, it is still not widely accepted by the majority.
(B) The historical documents on entomophagy are too limited for people to understand the dietary behavior of insects.
(C) Bees and silkworms are not absent from agricultural innovations because of the economic value they can bring.
(D) The more developed a country is, the less ecologically dependent it will be on insects as food for humans and
feed for animals.