Ant-hunting as a profession (in Indonesia)

weaver ant pupae

In the news this morning, a story about people who make a tidy living hunting weaver ant brood:

Tradition dictates that a Javanese man must possess five things to be a real man: a house, a woman, a horse, a dagger and a caged bird. The obsession with birds has spread to other ethnic groups, too, and these days, all kinds of birds are trapped and sold to satisfy the demand for them.

The market for pet birds has also created a market for bird food, including the larvae and pupae of red weaver ants, a favorite among insect-eating birds. Called krotoin Javanese, the ant larvae and pupae are actually eaten by people in Thailand and the Philippines, and they are said to taste creamy. In Java, however, the dish is reserved as a treat for captive songbirds.

In Javanese villages, kroto hunting can be a source of regular income.

Read the whole thing.

Note the suggestion that the practice may be altering local ecology:

Last year when the country was hit by itchy caterpillar attacks, experts speculated that the caterpillar population had exploded in part because the weaver ants’ larvae and pupae were being collected too heavily. Some districts, like Karanganyar in the Solo region, considered banning kroto collectors.

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  1. Pingback: Indonesian Bird Feed | Formicidae Fantasy

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