Madagascar has a long history of using Orthoptera as food and feed. Our understanding of the biological diversity of this resource, its contemporary use, and its future potentials in Madagascar is extremely limited. The present study contributes basic knowledge of the biological diversity and local uses of edible Orthoptera in Malagasy food cultures. Data was collected with key informants in 47 localities covering most of the ecoregions of Madagascar and corresponding to 12 of the 19 ethnic groups. Orthoptera are consumed throughout Madagascar. We report 37 edible Orthoptera species, of which 28 are new species records of edible Orthoptera in Madagascar and 24 are new species records of edible Orthoptera in the world. Most species are endemic and occur in farming zones. Children are the primary collectors and consumers of edible Orthoptera. The insects are eaten both as snacks and main meals. Edible Orthoptera are primarily collected casually and marketing is rare, with the notable exceptions of the large cricket Brachytrupes membranaceus colosseus and during locust outbreaks (e.g., Locusta migratoria). The use of Orthoptera as feed seems rare. Further investigations of cultural and personal preferences are required to assess the future potential roles of Orthoptera in Malagasy food habits.
Keywords: biodiversity; bioresource; culture; entomophagy; food; insect.