Home » ‘Edible aquatic insects of Loktak lake are at the verge of extinction’

‘Edible aquatic insects of Loktak lake are at the verge of extinction’

by IT Web Admin
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Since immemorial the people of Manipur considered some of the insects as consumable. For these people of Manipur edible aquatic insects is considered as the cheapest sources of animal protein. However, due to the degrading biodiversity of Loktak lake which produce around 60 percent of these insects, some of the species are already extinct and some are at the verge of extinction.
The most productive ecosystem, Loktak lake is home to more than 230 species of macrophytes, 425 species of animal ansd thousand of avifaunal species.
Consuming of the aquatic insects is an age old tradition and well accepted socio-cultural attribute for the ethnic group. Aquatic edible insects are good source of high content of proteins, fat, carbohydrates, mineral and vitamins. It has high demand in market. In Manipur giant water bug (Lethocerus indicus) is more than Rs 40-50 per bug. Nowadays this bug is not found abundantly. Around 10-20 bugs were sold at Khwairamband keithel (market) by an old woman, according to a latest study by Dr M Bhubaneshwari Devi, Associate Professor of DM College of Science.
Speaking to Imphal Times, she said, “Nausek (Lethocerus indicus), Konjeng Kokphai (Diplonuchus rusticus), Long Khajing (Geris sp), Chikribi (Ranatra varipes), Hao Naosek (Laccotrepes ruber), Ishing Khajing (Micronecta haploides), Ishing Cheitek Tin (Hydrometridae greeni), Maikhumbi Macha (Baetid sps), Tharaikokpi (Cybister sp), Tengbi (Rhantus sps) etc are some of the edible insects of Loktak lake.”
The entire wastes materials of Manipur’s valley area are dumped at Loktak lake. Around 4.4 lakh cu.m of silt sediments is being deposited into the Loktak lake; it is a big dustbin. With all these adulteration of Loktak lake, application of pesticides and chemicals the quality of water in the lake has significantly deteriorated and the population of this bug is now in danger”.
Majority of ethnic groups consumed the insect in roasted, boiled and dry fry or fry in oil. Chutney of giant water bugs and water beetles (Hydrophilus olivaceou) is one of the favourite side dish for the ethnic people of Manipur.
A collective approach on scientific documentation of the traditional knowledge and techniques used by different ethnic group of Manipur is the need of the hour to conserve the dwindling entomofauna of aquatic edible insects and also to introduce such products commercially to enhance economy of the ethnic communities in a sustainable way, she said.

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HARSHALI YADAV February 8, 2017 - 7:33 am



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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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