Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Edible arachnids and myriapods worldwide : updated list, nutritional profile and food hygiene implications

Abstract

Like insects, arachnids (spiders, scorpions, mites and ticks) and myriapods (millipedes and centipedes) also have a history of traditional consumption, either as foodstuff or medicine. In this review, an updated list of edible arachnids and myriapods is presented, showing that these animals are consumed worldwide. They are collected from the wild, and typical processing includes heating, defanging and, in certain cases, drying and grinding. The scarce data show a marked variation in nutrient composition that depends on the taxon and even sex, possibly also instar and feeding. Evaluating these traditions in terms of food safety, tick consumption must be discouraged, and heating steps are mandatory to eliminate pathogens, venoms, and urticating setae. For the future, more research will be necessary to assess chemical risks in wild-caught animals in terms of consumer safety and to get productive arachnid and myriapod farming for foodstuffs and industrial uses (pharmaceutical substances and silks) started.

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