Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Midges as Human Food

  • Meir Broza
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_4614

Cakes made from non-biting midges (Diptera: Chaoboridae) are a traditional food in African communities living along the shores of lakes in the African Rift Valley. Chaoborid swarms above the lakes may stretch over 10–32 miles and contain many millions of insects. They were first described from Lake Nyasa by the famous explorer David Livingstone, and also occur on the Ugandan side of Lake Victoria. The swarming gnats are called “E sami” by local people. It has been reported that the people compressed the flies into cakes that were used in some unknown manner as food. Also noted was the malodor of masses of dead flies that accumulated after the swarms, and the fact that the arrival of huge clouds of these gnats produced outbreaks of nasal catarrh among the white inhabitants.

Gnat cakes are called “kungu cakes” (Fig. 49) in the literature. In the Lake Victoria area, kungu is a term used as a prefix for insect specimens, or product made from insects. A major component of such cakes is a...
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meir Broza
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HaifaHaifaIsrael