Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Nutritional Value, Food Ingredients, Chemical and Species Composition of Edible Insects in China

By Weiping Yin, Junna Liu, Huaqing Liu and Biyu Lv

Submitted: October 26th 2016Reviewed: June 8th 2017Published: October 4th 2017

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.70085

Downloaded: 1165


As the prevailing food cultures, edible insects could be dated back to ancient China. It is becoming clear that insect resource can be mass‐produced in sustainable development food utilization. China could introduce insects into modern western diets. It is a precious resource considering the nutritional value, food ingredients and chemical composition of species. Meanwhile, the edible insects’ consumption also led to a challenge of addressing food security, nature conservation and the erosion of traditional food culture. We summarized the resourceful edible insects containing the nutrition substance, such as essential proteins, amino acids, fatty acids, carbohydrates, vitamins, mineral elements and other functional ingredients with the insect secondary metabolite, including the flavonoids, alkaloids, polysaccharides, hormones and phospholipids, which have high economic value for development and utilization.Based on the history, custom, plasmid resource, production and status of edible insects in China at present, it has been proven that the development of insects food well matches the need for human health in China.


  • edible insects
  • sustainable resource food
  • nutritional value
  • active ingredients with the insect secondary metabolite
  • chemical composition
  • Chinese insect diet

1. Introduction

1.1. Discussing edible insect’s resources value

Insects are most species‐rich resources and one of the largest biological groups in earth organisms. With its wide resources, speed of reproductive growth, lower feed cost, edible insects are an important food source which has immense potential of the development and utilization. The edible insects contain the reasonable structure of nutrition, high nutritional value and numerous functional factors. In addition, the current research results provided a reliable technical support for the large‐scale production and processing of edible insects in factory production. Therefore, edible insects have a very broad prospect as food sustainable resources development in future.

1.2. Human insectivorous history and customs

Though insects actually could be used as the secured and sustainable food, people naturally disgust the pests and have the feeling that they will bring heavy disaster to human beings. Most people will feel incredible even nauseous if they see a person eating insects. Of course, for those who have tasted barbecue locusts’ good things, situation is not so strange. However, in fact, if the history window of mankind is opened, we will find that insects occupy a prominent position in the human diet since the ancient times. Countries around the world in many parts of many societies used to have the habit of eating insects [1]. According to the literature reported, the Middle East people ate desert locusts before the 8th century BC [24]; in ancient Rome, people liked to eat a kind of larva of Cossus cossus orientalis Gaede and prompted to insect body hypertrophy using the flour [2]. In addition, the ancient Hebrew people hunt locusts for eating, American Indians ate the locust pest braised in soy sauce, Australian people loved eating cutworms, Africans fed termites, South Americans hobby to ten red ants and the Spanish make worm bean sauce from ant eggs, etc. Even up to now, the locusts have been accustomed to dry and grinded them into flour, baking cookies or bread sharing in Europe. African residents of some place even take ants, termites that make the taste delicious. In southern California and Mexico, American Indians collect a vast number of backstroke eggs in the water for consumption and sale. The blue butterfly Larvae are more popular in the United States and Mexico; their price is expensive and they are the famous rare dishes in restaurant or hotel. The edible insects also have a long history in China. In the third century BC, the emperor’s banquet was made up of cicadas and bees such as Yiluan (ant egg sauce), Huangchong (locust pest), Mifeng (bee) and Chan (cicada), which had been listed as the emperor’s own meat food and the banquet delicacy of aristocratic gatherings. There is a traditional Chinese famous specialty named Eight Jane Cakes from insects fly maggots [3]. In conclusion, the edible insects are rich whether they are in quantity or on people’s table, including their nutritive value and medicinal value. These insects will play a very important role as a sustainable food resources development in the future. Edible insects from all over the world are listed in Table 1.

InsectThe state of edible insectCountries and regionsInsectThe state of edible insectCountries and regions
Locust (including migratory locust etc.)AdultChina, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, IndiaLeafspinner antAdultBurma, Thailand, Australia, Malaysia
Indonesia, America Mexico, Africa, AustraliaHoney antAdult, larvaAmerica, South Ameirica, Mexico
GryllotalpaAdultChina, Japan, Vietnam, ThailandCicadaLarvaChina, Japan, South America, France
Crickets (including oil. Reed big crickets, etc.)Adult, larvaIndonesia, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, America, AfricaMayflyAdultChina, Japan, Vietnam, America, Africa
Hawkmoth wormLarva, pupaChina, Africa, Japan, AmericaDragonflyAdult, larvaJapan, Thailand, Indonesia, Africa
Slug mothPupaChina, JapanCaddis wormAdult, larvaJapan
Pine caterpillarsLarva, pupaJapan, North Korea, Australia, Japan, America, MexicoOsmanthus cicada (including negative ducking Rho)AdultChina, Japan, Malaysia, Burma, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, America
Noctuidae (cutworm)Larva, pupaJapan, South Africa, Australia, ChinaAspongopusAdultChina, India, Mexico, Africa
Locates the moth (including cordyceps sinensis)PupaJapan, Thailand, Italy, AustraliaStinkbugAdultChina, India, Africa
MaggotsLarvaChina, Japan, Africa, America
Carpenter mothLarvaAfricaMexico
Lappet mothLarvaAfricaEphydridAdult, larvaChina, Japan, Thailand
White mothLarva, pupaJapanCockchaferAdult, larvaAfrica, America, France
Grape wing bug mothsLarvaJapanGermany
BrahmaeidaeLarvaChina, JapanChina, Japan, Thailand
Domain moth (backpack worm)Adult, larvaJapan, MexicoLongicorn beetleLarvaIndonesia, Ceylon, Vietnam, Australia, Africa
Snout moth (including corn moth two group three moth, etc.)Larva, pupaJapanWeevilLarvaIndonesia, India, Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Africa, China, Japan, America
PapilionidLarvaJapanThailand, Africa
SkipperLarvaMexicoBuprestid beetleLarvaChina
TermiteQueen ant, AdultChina, Indonesia, IndiaYellow mealwormPupaMexico
Burma, Malaysia, ThailandTiger beetlePupaChina, Japan, Thailand
Australia, Africa, SouthLocust langEgg, adultAustralia, Africa
AmericaPsylla head liceLarva
AntsAdultIndonesia, India, Thailand, Australia, Mexico, AmericaHead lice fleasAdultIndonesia, Vietnam, Africa, Mexico, South America
HydrophilidAdultChina, Japan
BagwormOverwintering larvaeChinaRed current wormOverwintering larvaeChina

Table 1.

Edible insects from all over the world.

2. Development and utilization of edible insects resource

Edible insects can be divided into food insect, drug/medicinal insects and drug dual‐use insects, etc., based on the different insects eaten resources classification. Edible insects are directly for a daily food consumption and the insect has important nutritional value to human to be developed and utilized. The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has released a report in 2013 called Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security [6]. It outlines the many benefits of eating insects—for human in the entire world. As early as 1980, it was put forward to supplement the human food shortage in the Fifth Latin American congress of Dietitians and Nutritionists, which should regard them that as part of food source insects as human food in many countries has been increasingly apparent at present.

Scientists have found that some insect protein from the red ants, grasshoppers and some of predaceous diving beetle (Dytiscidae)are enough to compete with lean beef.

The protein of adult insect content is rich, significantly higher than that of pork, beef, chicken, fish and eggs. Experts predict that insects will be the third category only after cell raw material and microbial protein sources in future [7]. Insect and spiders would serve equally well as much needed nourishment in the poor regions and as the healthy food choices in developed countries like the US. Insects are a highly nutritious and healthy food source with high fat, protein, vitamin, fiber and mineral content [6]. “Gathering and farming insects can offer employment and cash income either at the household level or in larger industrial‐scale operations.” It could offer work to millions of people around the world. Besides, there is evidence that most of breeding insects produced the harmful greenhouse gases to the environment that may be less than those of livestock [8]. This result will help to decrease the cost of food production, reduce emissions from greenhouse gas. In recent years, along with the progress of modern science and technology, the process technology of the functional food and health‐food markets of edible insects accelerates unprecedentedly in China. For example, concentrated insect protein oral liquid specialized in honey, royal jelly, pollen and propolis, the traditional shellac ash, etc. Insect oils of some are mainly used as the functional fat‐soluble ingredients.

Above all, the insects are most species and biomass great organisms on earth, and their resources arre extremely rich. Moreover, its nutrition structure is reasonable with high nutritional value and many functional constituent; insects thus will be considered as an important food source for the development and utilization with huge potentials. Combined with the existing research results and their advantages of high reproductive growth speed and low feed cost, large‐scale production provides a reliable technical support. The development and utilization of edible insect resources thus has a very broad prospect.

3. The value of nutrition and health benefits of edible insects

According to the records, about 3650 species of the edible insects have been found and used [8]. The advantages of edible insects in the food development, one highlights show, at the beginning of competing namely, already competed from widely distributed, best variety, fast reproduction, high nutritional value, breeding easy and high food conversion rate indistinct development competes for the sustainability in ecosystems and biodiversity. They thus have become an additional source of food with high nutritional value containing rich protein. At the same time, the insects’ food has low fat and low cholesterol with a reasonable structure (less fleshy fiber) easily absorbed, and abundant trace elements, etc. It is, therefore, better than that of meat and eggs. Advances in edible insects as traditional food, nutrient value and healthy function of edible insects, industrialization of insect‐foods were valued fields [9].

The results of research showed that edible insect contains various nutrient elements, such as protein, amino acids, fat, fatty acid, vitamins and mineral elements.

3.1. Edible insect protein

Onincx said “It proves the hypothesis that insects can be a more efficient source of protein, and I definitely believe there is a future for edible insects” [10]. Studies have shown that protein content is not the same for the different insect states. The protein content of adults is the highest, pupa is at second and larvae at the lowest. For wasps, the adult has 71.07%, pupa has 58.59% and a larva has 50.83% of protein content, according to the protein calculations of insects at different ages.

The protein content of different subjects’ insect is not the same either. The Orthoptera is higher than Homoptera, higher than Odonata, Diptera, Hymenoptera, Hemipter, Lepidoptera and then Coleoptera insect [11].

Amino acid is the basic functional unit for biological macromolecular protein, and is also an important part of food constituted as insects’ nutrition. The amino acid content of edible insects is 10–70%, and essential amino acid content is 10–30%. Most of the amino acid ratios for insect are appropriate and have approached or even exceeded that of the WHO/FAO required ratio. Study also revealed that the existence of large amount of free amino acids associated with insect freshness [6, 12]. The content of free amino acid of edible insects in the blood is about 3000–23400 mg/kg that is higher than any other higher animals of the universe.

3.2. Carbohydrate of edible insects

In addition to glucose, triose, glycogen, erythritol, ketose sugar, fructose and ketoheptose, edible insects’ carbohydrates (sugars) sort are very rich and the sea algae sugar (insects’ ingredient blood sugar) content is the same. Edible insects are easy to digest and absorb carbohydrates, and total sugar containing amount is generally as low as 1–10% or even lower [13]. For example, the total sugar content of Cyclopelta parva is 1.45%, and that of Tessaratoma papillosa is 0.15% [14].

Chitin is also the main material of edible insects’ skin and bones. Its chemical name is N‐acetyl‐D‐glucosamine copolymer. For a low‐calorie food which it has the very high nutrition value and good for health care with the function of adsorption toxic substances. Chitin promotes intestinal peristalsis, fine regulating intestinal bacteria, reduce weight due to fat, anti‐aging, enhance the immune function and assist in preventive treatment of high blood pressure, etc. Chitin is usually between 15 and 18%, rich in edible insect body. However, at different insect states, chitin content is different, such as the chitin content of dry silkworm pupa is 3.73% and Skim pupa’s content reached 5.55% [3].

3.3. Mineral elements and vitamin of edible insects

Edible insects are rich in mineral elements, including Ca, P, Fe and zinc, etc., which are often needed as the supplement of human body. It is reported that feed insects can fulfill the requirement of animals’ Fe, Cu, Zn and Mg mineral elements [15]. The locusts contain 27 kinds of mineral elements, notably Mn, Fe, Cu and Zn [16]. Many ants are rich in Zn, Se, Mn and Mg, etc. The level of Zn is two times more than pork liver, and eight times higher than soybean [17]. In addition to the constant element, edible insects are rich in Se, Co, Ni and Cd trace elements. The Chinese rice locust and yellow powder insect have Se content at 4.62 and 4.75 mg/kg,respectively. The Se element can accelerate detoxification, inhibit carcinogenic activity, destroy the carcinogen and prevent cancer cell growth and division. Other elements’ content, such as Ni 1.22 mg/g, Co 1.36 mg/g and Cr 1.52 mg/g are reported in Formica (Coptoformica) mesasiatica Dlussky [3].

There are numerous vitamins in insect body, mainly including vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), C, D, E, K and carotene. Macrotermes annandalei contains vitamin A 25.0, vitamin D 85.4 and vitamin E 11.7 I.U./g (International Unit/g). Vitamins are essential substances for maintaining normal physiological function of human body.

3.4. Lipid substances of edible insects

Insects are rich in oil and lipids. The fat content of pupae and larvae is higher than the adult insect. Report shows a decline in fat content after feather state of the insect. Fat content is commonly between 10 and 50% for edible insects. A recent study has found the fat content of wasp. In larvae, the fat content is 29.01%, while in pupae, it is 27.25% and in adults, it is for 17.22% [10]. Unsaturated fatty acid and palmitic acid are higher in edible insects. Among them, linolenic acid content is higher in Lepidoptera, and the oil acid content is higher in Coleoptera.

Related research also proved the variation in fat content for different species of insects. It is revealed that the fat content of Coleoptera is higher than that of Lepidoptera, Half wings, Hymenoptera, Odonata, Diptera and Orthoptera [19]. In fact, natural insect wax also contains a small amount of senior fatty acids. They can be used as pharmaceutical raw materials such as textile and stencil making model. Based on the infrared spectra analysis of insect wax, it was suggested that insect’s wax is composed of mainly long‐chain hydrocarbons, fatty alcohols, fatty acids and some compounds with aromatic rings mixture.

4. The nutritional evaluation of insect oil/fat

Insect oils (fat) are a kind of nutrient substances with several physiological and biological activities and functions. It has a high value of research, development and utilization no matter whatever be the quantity or quality. Fat content of insects’ body changes with its life cycle, meanwhile it is closely related to the growing up of the insect species.

4.1. The oils and fats content in insects’ body

Many studies have also displayed that the fat content of insects differed in the same species. The pupa and larva’s oils (fat) were higher than adults’ in the same species. And, during the winter period, the insects’ oil contents were higher. The fat content of insects’ dry body was commonly 10%, while many other insects have fat content of 30%, or even up to 77.16% (Table 2).

Insect speciesCrude fat %Insect speciesCrude fat %Insect speciesCrude fat %
Locates moth larvae77.17Desert locust17Bollworm larvae49.48
Asian corn borer larvae46.08The big spot well‐known14.5
Clanis bilineata15.44Verdigris beetle larvae14.05Aprioma germari Hope41.46
Moths’ larva32.26stratiomyiid13.93
Mylabris cichorii13.96Yellow mealworm adult19.23Pink neck sawyer larve35.89
Tussah male adult39.49Oxya chinensis8.24Musca domestica pupa10.55
Cabbage worm11.8Polyrhachis vicina female9.5Tussah pupa31.25
Tenebrio molitor L28.8–34.0Holotrichia oblita Fald29.84Redchest prickly ant adult8.53
Polyrhachis vicina adult8.57Housefly larvae12.61Convex star flowers beetle larvae19.35
Macrotermes annandalei28.3Star longhorn beetle larvae35.19Green hsu well‐known7.5
Epicauta chinensis8.22Atractomorpha sinensis2.87–4.91Tussah cicada larva2.63
Wood stupid worm26.46
Acrida cinerea2.89

Table 2.

Crude fat (dry weight) content (%) of some insects.

4.2. Fatty acid composition of insect oils and fats

Insects are rich in fat and their fatty acid composition is reasonable. The saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acid ratio of edible insect is generally less than 0.4. Its partial fatty acid composition ratio is close to the fatty acid composition of fish proportion, and thus can be used as a natural health care product. The saturated fatty acids (SFA) of insects is mostly composed of the palmitic acid (C16:0) but not stearic acid (C18:0) which is relatively high in vertebrates. In addition, insect oil has the odd number carbon fatty acids rarely existing as the pentadecanoic acid and heptadecanoic acid that are relatively rare in the nature but extremely common in insects. As shown in Table 2, the heptadecanoic acid content of termites’ adult, the housefly larvae and housefly adults were all above 2%. As odd number carbon fatty acid has special raw active function, it was found that they have stronger antitumor activity. Therefore, many researchers are very interested in insects’ enrichment and separation of odd number carbon fatty acids, leading a hotspot in the research of the insect oil.

The insect oil is a solvent of natural active products containing the lecithin and fat‐soluble D raw element (such as vitamin A, D, E). These active natural products have a strong physiological and biological function with the extremely important value.

4.3. The nutrition evaluation of insect oils

The fatty acid of insect oil and fats predominantly composes of unsaturated fatty acid and its proportion could be more than 60%, and can even reach up to 80% in some insects. The fatty acid of insect oil and fats predominantly composes of unsaturated fatty acid. And, its proportion could be more than 60%, and can even reach up to 80% in some insects. The fatty acid composition of some of the insects’ oil and fats is shown in Table 3.

Composition of fatty acid
Larvae of Tenebrio molitor0.510.9923.
House fly larvae2.
House fly adult3.50.515.
House fly pupa0.
Silkworm pupa30.07.525.610.926.0
The termites adult0.

Table 3.

The fatty acid composition of some of insects’ oil and fats (%).

Among the unsaturated fatty acids (USFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) of insects, many oleic acid (C18:1) is a unique composition with the proportion at about 30 ± 10% or more. This is much close to fish food and better than poultry meat and eggs. It is good for the health of human body. The bioactive mechanism of insects’ fatty acid has been studied in the body and has proven the exact functional fatty acids physiological activity. It pointed out that the high linoleic acid content in certain insects has a close relationship with its strong reproductive functions. Research indicated that stearic acid could neutralize the nutritional effects, and the lauric acid (C12:0) and nutmeg acid (C14:0) can lead to the elevated level of the fatty acid of cholesterol. These kinds of saturated fatty acids (SFA) are low in insect oil.

Nutritionists believe that general proportion between the n‐3 and n‐6 (PUFA) should be based on the breast for 1:3–10 [21]. According to the best food and nutritional science, linoleic acid and linolenic acid are the essential fatty acids (EFA). These two kinds of fatty acids are obtained only from food directly. In case EFA is lacking, the oil should be restricted to oil’s fatty acid with the low biological titer, and nutritional value is thus low. It can directly cause the growth retardation, reproductive barriers, skin damage (such as a skin rash), liver, kidney, nerve and visual diseases. The over‐taken polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUSFA) can cause chronic hazards. Therefore, the world health organization (WHO) recommended a standard of food oil in adults, the recommended dietary fatty acids taken (1990) are produced by the percentage of the total energy, energy and food: fat 15–30%, of them SFA < 10, PUFA 3–7 [21].

In a word, insects have the characters of quick propagation, high content of fat composed of reasonable composition of fatty acids. They are thus a good edible oil resource with high quality.

5. The secondary metabolites of edible insects and potential medicinal substances

At present, the research showed that the insect secondary metabolite is important sources of new drug lead compounds. Arthropod natural products with insect constituent are structurally diverse, including compounds derived from fatty acid, polyketide, terpenoid, nucleoside and amino acid pathways. However, the biosynthesis of most of these compounds has not been studied in detail (Figure 1) [22]. Historically, traditional use of plants as medicines, known as “ethnobotany”, has been extensively recognized and studied. It is worth noting that insects have been utilized as medicines in diverse cultures, especially in traditional Chinese medicines. It may be valuable for the development of the useful drugs. Another ongoing investigation by our group was the searching of new antibacterial structure from insects’ natural products. More modern studies designed to determine the medicinal properties of isolated chemical components from insects and other arthropods will be performed.

Figure 1.

Examples of arthropod natural products from spiders (1, 4), mites (6), ants (5, 7, 10), fireflies (3), termites (7), grasshoppers (9), and beetles (2, 8, 11, 12).

6. Edible insects in China

According to the results of the survey, edible insect resources have been reported for more than 283 species with subspecies, involving 13 orders, 71 families in China [23]. Among them, the Orthoptera, Hemiptera, Coleoptera, Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera account for the majority number. Though most of the species have not been reported, the quantity of edible species identified is still growing. For this purpose, the author studied more than 283 species and subspecies of the edible insects in China. We recorded them as follows with * marked for the first‐time report. China’s edible insect species and their edible insects were discussed as follows:

  1. Ephemerida

    The order includes two families of the larva of Ephemerellidae and Ephemerella jinghongensis Xu et al.

  2. Odonata

    The order includes four families of Aeshnidae, Gomphidae, Libellulidae and Lestidae.

    1. *Aeschnidae

      The larva of *Anax parthenope julius Brauer.

    2. Gomphidae

      The larva of Gomphus cuneatus Needham.

    3. Libelluidae

      1. The larva of Crocothemisservilia Drury.

      2. The larva of *Orthetrum albistylum Selys.

      3. The larva of *Orthetrum triangula remelania Selys.

      4. The larva of *Pantala flavescens Fabricius.

      5. The larva of *Sympetrum uniforme Selys.

    4. Lestidae

      The larva of Lestes praemorsa Sel.

  3. Blattodea

    The order includes two families of Blattidae and Corydiidae.

    1. Blattidae

      1. The nymphal/adult of Periplaneta americana L.

      2. The nymphal/adult of Periplaneta australasiae L.

    2. Corydiidae

      The nymphal/adult of Eupolyphaga sinensis Walker.

  4. Mantodea

    The order has only the Mantidae familie.

    1. The nymphal/adult of Mantis religiosa L.

    2. The nymphal/adult of Paratenodera sinensis Saussure.

    3. The nymphal/adult of Statilia maculata Thunberg.

    4. The nymphal/adult of Tenodero bravico Beier.

    5. The nymphal/adult of Tenodero sinensis Saussure.

  5. Isoptera

    The order includes two families of Rhinotermitidae and Termitidae.

    1. Rhinotermitidae

      The larva/nest/adult of Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki.

    2. Termitidae

      1. The larva/nest/adult of Macrotermes acrocephalus Ping.

      2. The larva/nest/adult of Macrotermes annandalei Slivestri.

      3. The larva/nest/adult of Macrotermes barneyi Light.

      4. The larva/nest/adult of Macrotermes denticulatus LietPing.

      5. The larva/nest/adult of Macrotermes jinhongensis PingetLi.

      6. The larva/nest/adult of Macrotermes menglongensis Han.

      7. The larva/nest/adult of Macrotermes yunnanensis Han.

      8. The larva/nest/adult of Odontotermes angusti gnathus TsaietChen.

      9. The larva/nest/adult of Odontotermes annulicornis XiaetFan.

      10. The larva/nest/adult of Odontotermes conignathus XiaetFan.

      11. The larva/nest/adult of Odontotermes formosanus Shiraki.

      12. The larva/nest/adult of Odontotermes foveafrons XiaetFan.

      13. The larva/nest/adult of Odontotermes gravelyi Silvestri.

      14. The larva/nest/adult of Odontotermes hainanensis Light.

      15. The larva/nest/adult of Odontotermes yunnanensis TsaietChen.

  6. Orthoptera

    The order includes four families of Acridiidae, Gryllidae, Gryllotalpidae and Tettigoniidae.

    1. Acridiidae

      1. The nymphal/adult of Acrida chinensis Westwood.

      2. The nymphal/adult of Acrida. oxycephala Pallas.

      3. The nymphal/adult of Acrida. turrita L.

      4. The nymphal/adult of Arcyptera fusca Pall.

      5. The nymphal/adult of Atractomorpha sinensis Boliver.

      6. The nymphal/adult of Bryodema gebleri FisherWaldheim

      7. The nymphal/adult of Calliptamus abbreviatus Ikonn.

      8. The nymphal/adult of Calliptamus italicus L.

      9. The nymphal/adult of Calliptamus barbaruscephalates FisherWaldheim

      10. The nymphal/adult of Ceracris kiangsu Tsai.

      11. The nymphal/adult of Chondracris rosea DeGeer.

      12. The nymphal/adult of Dociostaurus kraussini grogeniculatus Tar.

      13. The nymphal/adult of Gomphocerus sibiricus L.

      14. The nymphal/adult of Locusta migratoria manilensis Meyen.

      15. The nymphal/adult of Locusta migratoria migratoria L.

      16. The nymphal/adult of Oedaleus decorus Germ.

      17. The nymphal/adult of Oxya chinensis Thunberg.

      18. The nymphal/adult of Oxya intericata Stal.

      19. The nymphal/adult of Oxya japonica Thunberg.

      20. The nymphal/adult of Pararcyptera microptera FisherWaldheim.

      21. The nymphal/adult of Patanga japonica Bolivar.

      22. The nymphal/adult of Skirakiacris shirakii Bolivar.

      23. The nymphal/adult of Sphingonotus spp.

      24. The nymphal/adult of Stauroderus scalaris FisherWaldheim.

    2. Gryllidae

      1. The adult of Brachytrupes portentosus L.

      2. The adult of Gryllulus bimaculatus DeGeer

      3. The adult of Gryllulus chinensis Weber

      4. The adult of Gryllulus testaceus Walker

      5. The nymphal/adult of Teleoqzyllus derelictus Gorochov.

      6. The nymphal/adult of Tarbinskiellus portentosus (Lichtenstern).

    3. Gryllotalpidae

      1. The adult of Gryllotalpa africana Palisotde Beauvojs.

      2. The adult of Gryllotalpa orientalis Burmeister.

      3. The adult of Gryllotalpa unispina Saussure.

    4. Tettigoniidae

      The nymphal/adult of Damalacantha vacca sinica B. Bienko.

  7. Homoptera

    The order includes five families of Cicadidae, Coccidae, Flatidae, Membracidae and Pseudococcidae.

    1. Cicadidae

      1. The nymphal of Cicada flammata Dist.

      2. The nymphal of Cryptotympana atrata Fabr.

      3. The nymphal of Platypleura kaempferi Fabr.

    2. Coccidae

      The egg/adult of Ericerus pela Chavanness.

    3. Flatidae

      The nymphal of Lawana imitata Melichar.

    4. Membracidae

      The nymphal/adult of Darthula hardwicki Gray.

    5. Pseudococcidae

      The nymphal of Phenacoccus prunicola Borchs.

  8. Hemiptera

    The order includes five families of Belostomatidae、Coreidae、Corixidae、Noronectidae and Pentatomidae.

    1. Belostomatidae

      1. The nymphal/adult of Kirkaldgia degrollei Vuillefro.

      2. The nymphal/adult of Lethocerus indicus Lepeletieret Serville.

      3. The nymphal/adult of Sphaerodema rustica Fabricius.

    2. Coreidae

      The nymphal/adult of Mictis tenebrosa Fabricius.

    3. Corixidae

      1. The nymphal/adult of Micromecta quadriseta Lundblad.

      2. The nymphal/adult of Sigara substriata Uhler.

    4. Noronectidae

      1. The nymphal/adult of Anisops fieberi Kirkaldy.

      2. The nymphal/adult of Enithares sinica Stal.

      3. The nymphal/adult of Notonecta chinensis Fallou.

    5. Pentatomidae

      1. The nymphal/adult of Coridicus chinensis Dallas.

      2. The nymphal/adult of Cyclopelta parva Distant.

      3. The nymphal/adult of Erthesina fullo Thunberg.

      4. The nymphal/adult of Eurostus validus Dallas.

      5. The nymphal/adult of Eusthenes curpreus Westwood.

      6. The nymphal/adult of Eusthenes saevus Stal.

      7. The nymphal/adult of Nezara viridula L.

      8. The nymphal/adult of Tessara toma papillosa Drury.

  9. Coleoptera

    The order includes 15 families of Anobiidae, Bruchidae, Buprestidae, Cerambycidae, Crioceridae, Curculionidae, Dynastidae, Dytiscidae, Getoniidae, Hydrophilidae, Melolonthidae, Rutelidae, Scarabaeidae, Scolytidae and Tenebrionidae.

    1. Anobiidae

      The nymphal of Lasioedrma serricorne Fabricius.

    2. Bruchidae

      1. The nymphal/adult of Bruchus pisorum L.

      2. The nymphal/adult of Bruchus rufimanus Boheman.

    3. Buprestidae

      1. The nymphal of Chalcophora yunnana Fairmaire.

      2. The nymphal of Coraebus sidae Kerremans.

      3. The nymphal of Coraebus sauteri Oben.

      4. The nymphal of Sphenoptera kozlovi B. Jak.

    4. Cerambycidae

      1. The nymphal/adult of Anoplophora chinensis Forster.

      2. The nymphal/adult of Anoplophora nobilis Ganglbauer.

      3. The nymphal/adult of Apriona germari Hope.

      4. The nymphal/adult of Aromia bungii Faldermann.

      5. The nymphal/adult of Stromatium longicorne Newman.

      6. The nymphal/adult of Psacothea hilaris Pascoe.

    5. Crioceridae

      The nymphal/adult of Sagra femorata purpurea Lichtenstein.

    6. Curculionidae

      1. The nymphal/adult of Cyrtotrachelus bugueti Guer.

      2. The nymphal/adult of Cyrtotrachelus longimanus Fabricius.

      3. The nymphal/adult of Macrochirus longipes Drury.

      4. The nymphal/adult of Otidognathus davidis Fabricius.

    7. Dynastidae

      1. The nymphal/adult of Allomyrina dichotoma L.

      2. The nymphal/adult of Oryctes rhinoceros L.

    8. Dytiscidae

      1. The adult of Cybister japonicus Sharp.

      2. The adult of Cybister. limbatus Fabricius.

      3. The adult of Cybister ripunctatus Olivier.

      4. The adult of Eretes stictius L.

    9. Getoniidae

      1. The nymphal/adult of Dicranocephalus wallichi bowringi Pascoe.

      2. The nymphal/adult of Oxycetonia jucunda Faldermann.

      3. The nymphal/adult of Protaetia aerata Erichson.

    10. Hydrophilidae

      1. The adult of Hydrophilus acuminatus Motsch.

      2. The adult of Hydrous acuminatus Motsch.

      3. The adult of Hydrous hastatus Herbst.

    11. Melolonthidae

      1. The nymphal/adult of Holotrichia diomphalia Bates.

      2. The nymphal/adult of Holotrichia lata Brenske

      3. The nymphal/adult of Holotrichia oblita Faldermann.

      4. The nymphal/adult of Holotrichia ovata Chang.

      5. The nymphal/adult of Holotrichia parallela Motsch.

      6. The nymphal/adult of Holotrichia sinensis Hope.

      7. The nymphal/adult of Holotrichia srobiculata Brenske.

      8. The nymphal/adult of Holotrichia szechuanensis Chang.

      9. The nymphal/adult of Polyphylla laticollis Lewis.

    12. Rutelidae

      The nymphal/adult of Anomala corpulenta Mots.

    13. Scarabaeidae

      The nymphal/adult of Catharsiusmolossus L.

    14. Scolytidae

      1. The nymphal of Sphaerotrypes yunnanensis Tsaiet Yin.

      2. The nymphal of Tomicus piniperd L.

      3. The nymphal of Xyleborus emarginatus Eichhoff

    15. Tenebrionidae

      1. The nymphal/pupa of Tenebriomolitor L.

      2. The nymphal/pupa of Tenebriomolitor obscurus Feb.

      3. The nymphal/pupa of Tribolium confusum Jac.du Val.

  10. Megaloptera

    The order has only the Corydalidae family.

    The nymphal of Acanthacoryda lisorientalis Mclachlan.

  11. Lepidoptera

    The order includes twenty‐one families of Hesperiidae、Papilionidae et al.

    1. Hesperiidae

      1. The pupa of Erionota torus Evans.

      2. The pupa of Parnara guttata Bremeret Gray.

    2. Papilionidae

      1. The pupa of Papilio machaon L.

      2. The pupa of Papilio polytes L.

      3. The pupa of Papilio xuthus L.

    3. Pieridae

      The pupa of Pieris rapae L.

    4. Satyridae

      The pupa of Mycalesis gotoma Moore.

    5. Aegeriidae

      1. The larva/pupa of Paranth reneregalis Butler.

      2. The larva/pupa of Parathene tabaniformis L.

    6. Bombycidae

      1. The pupa of Andraca bipunctata Walker.

      2. Silkworm chrysalis and silk moth of Bombyx mori L.

      3. The pupa of Theophila mandarina Moore.

    7. Carposinidae

      The pupa of Carposina niponensis Walsingham.

    8. Cossidae

      1. The larva of Cossus chinesis Rothschild

      2. The larva of Cossus cossus L.

      3. The larva of Cossus hunanensis Daniel.

    9. Eucleidae

      1. The pupa of Cania bilineata Walke.

      2. The pupa of Thosea sinensis Walker.

    10. Gelechiidae

      1. The larva/pupa of Pectionophora gossyeilla Saunders.

      2. The larva/pupa of Platyedra gossypiella Saunders.

    11. Geometridae

      The larva/pupa of Biston marginata Matsmura.

    12. Hepialidae

      1. The larva/pupa of Hepialus albipictus Yang.

      2. The larva/pupa of Hepialus altaicola Wang.

      3. The larva/pupa of Hepialus armoricanus Oberthur.

      4. The larva/pupa of Hepialus baimaensis Liang.

      5. The larva/pupa of Hepialus cingulatus Yang et Zhang.

      6. The larva/pupa of Hepialus deudi Poujade.

      7. The larva/pupa of Hepialus deqinensis Liang.

      8. The larva/pupa of Hepialus dongyuensis Liang.

      9. The larva/pupa of Hepialus ferrugineus Li, Yang et Shen.

      10. The larva/pupa of Hepialus ganna Hubner.

      11. The larva/pupa of Hepialus gonggaensis FuetHuang.

      12. The larva/pupa of Hepialus jinshaensis Yang.

      13. The larva/pupa of Hepialus kangdingensis Chu et Wang.

      14. The larva/pupa of Hepialus kangdingroides Chu et Wang.

      15. The larva/pupa of Hepialus lijiangensis Chu et Wang.

      16. The larva/pupa of Hepialus litangensis Liang.

      17. The larva/pupa of Hepialus luquensis Yang et Yang.

      18. The larva/pupa of Hepialus macilentus Lversmann.

      19. The larva/pupa of Hepialus markamensis Yang, Li et Shen.

      20. The larva/pupa of Hepialus meiliensis Liang.

      21. The larva/pupa of Hepialus menyuanensis Chu et Wang.

      22. The larva/pupa of Hepialus nebulosus Alpheraky.

      23. The larva/pupa of Hepialus oblifurcus Chu et Wang.

      24. The larva/pupa of Hepialus pratensis Yang.

      25. The larva/pupa of Hepialus renzhiensis Yang.

      26. The larva/pupa of Hepialus H.sichuanus Chu et Wang.

      27. The larva/pupa of Hepialus varians Staudinger.

      28. The larva/pupa of Hepialus xunhuaensisYang et Yang.

      29. The larva/pupa of Hepialus yeriensis Liang.

      30. The larva/pupa of Hepialus yulongensis Liang.

      31. The larva/pupa of Hepialus yunlongensis Chu et Wang.

      32. The larva/pupa of Hepialus yunnanensis Yang et Li.

      33. The larva/pupa of Hepialus yushuensis Chu et Wang.

      34. The larva/pupa of Hepialus zhangmoensis Chu et Wang.

      35. The larva/pupa of Hepialus zhayuensis Chu et Wang.

      36. The larva/pupa of Hepialus.zhongzhiensis Liang.

      37. The larva/pupa of Napialus hunanensis Chu et Wang.

    13. Lasiocampidae

      1. The adult/pupa of Dendrolimus houi Lajonquiere.

      2. The adult/pupa of Dendrolimus kikuchii Matsumura.

      3. The adult/pupa of Dendrolimus punctatus Walker.

      4. The adult/pupa of Dendrolimus punctatus wenshanensis Tsai et Liu.

      5. The adult/pupa of Dendrolimus superans Butler.

    14. Noctuidae

      1. The pupa of Agrotis ipsilon Pottemberg.

      2. The pupa of Anomis flava Fabr.

      3. The pupa of Heliothis armigera Hubner.

      4. The pupa of Hydrillodes morosa Butler.

      5. The pupa of Laphygma exigua Hubner.

      6. The pupa of Leucania separata Walker.

      7. The pupa of Naranga aenescens Moore.

      8. The pupa of Prodenia litura Fabr.

      9. The larva/pupa of Sesamia inferens Walker.

    15. Notodontidae

      1. The adult/pupa of Leucodonta bicoloria Denis et Schiffermuller.

      2. The adult/pupa of Notodonta dembowskii Oberthuer.

      3. The adult/pupa of Phalera assimilis Bremer et Gray.

      4. The adult/pupa of Phalera bucephala L.

      5. The adult/pupa of Semidonta biloba Oberthuer.

    16. Psychidae

      The larve/pupa of Psychidae spp.

    17. Pyralidae

      1. Insect tea of larva feces for Aglossa dimidiata Haworth.

      2. The larva/pupa of Chilo suppressalis Walker.

      3. The larva of Chilo fuscidentalis Hampson.

      4. The larva/pupa of Chilo sp. (English named, Bamboo maggots)

      5. The pupa of Cnaphalocrocism edinalis Guenée.

      6. The pupa of Dichocrocis punctiferalis Guenée.

      7. The larva/pupa of Ostrinia furnalis Guenée.

      8. The pupa of Plodia interpunctella Hubner.

      9. The pupa of Sylepta derogata Fabr.

      10. The larva/pupa of Tryporyza incertulas Walker.

    18. Saturniidae

      1. The larva/pupa of Antheraea pernyi Geurin.

      2. The larva/pupa of Philosamia cynthia Drury.

    19. Sphingidae

      1. The larva/pupa of Clanis bilineata Walker.

      2. The larva/pupa of Clanis deucalion Walker.

      3. The larva/pupa of Herse convolvuli L.

      4. The larva/pupa of Smerithus plannus Walker.

    20. Tortrcidae

      The pupa of Leguminivora glycinivorella Matsumura.

    21. Xyloryctidae

      1. The pupa of Linoclostis gonatias Meyrick.

      2. The pupa of Xyloryctidae spp.

  12. Diptera

    The order includes three familie of Muscidae、Sarcophagidge and Tipulidae.

    1. Muscidae

      The egg/larva of Musca domestica L.

    2. Sarcophagidge

      The larva of Sarcophagidae spp.

    3. Tipulidae

      The larva of Tipula paltudosa Meig.

  13. Hymenoptera

    The order includes seven families of Agaonidae、Apidae、Polistidae、Sco1iidae、Sphecidae、Vespidae and Formicidae.

    1. Agaonidae

      The egg/larva/pupa/adult of Blastophaga pumilae Hill.

    2. Apidae

      1. The larva/pupa of Apis cerana Fabricius.

      2. The larva/pupa of Apis mellifera L.

      3. The larva/pupa of Bombus speciosus Smith.

      4. The larva/pupa of Megapis dorsata Fabricius.

      5. The larva/pupa of Megapis florae Fabricius.

    3. Polistidae

      1. The larva/pupa of Polistes antenalis Perez.

      2. The larva/pupa of Polistes chinensis Fabricius.

      3. The larva/pupa of Polistes gigas Kirby.

      4. The larva/pupa of Polistes hebraeus Fabricius.

      5. The larva/pupa of Polistes mandarimnus Saussure.

      6. The larva/pupa of Polistes.sagittarius Sassuer.

      7. The larva/pupa of Polistes salcatus Smith.

    4. Sco1iidae

      The larva/pupat of Scoliidae spp.

    5. Sphecidae

      The larva/pupat of Sphecidae spp.

    6. Vespidae

      1. The larva/pupa of Provespa barthelemyi Buysson.

      2. The larva/pupa of Vespa analis Buysson.

      3. The larva/pupa of Vespa basalis Smith.

      4. The larva/pupa of Vespa bicolor bicolor Fabricius.

      5. The larva/pupa of Vespa crabro L.

      6. The larva/pupa of Vespa ducalis Smith.

      7. The larva/pupa of Vespa mandarinia Smith.

      8. The larva/pupa of Vespa sorror Buysson.

      9. The larva/pupa of Vespa tropica ducalis Smith.

      10. The larva/pupa of Vespa variabilis Buysson.

      11. The larva/pupa of Vespa velutina auraria Smith.

      12. The larva/pupa of Vespa spp.

    7. Formicidae

      1. The egg/larva/pupa/adult of Camponotus japonicus Mayer.

      2. The egg/larva/pupa/adult of Carebara lignata Westwood.

      3. The larva/pupa of Formica rufa L.

      4. The larva/pupa of Formica aquilonia Yarrow.

      5. The larva/pupa of Formica beijingensis Wu.

      6. The larva/pupa of Formica fusca L.

      7. The larva/pupa of Formica japonica Mottschulsky.

      8. The larva/pupa of Formica sanguinea Latr.

      9. The larva/pupa of Formica uralensis Ruzsky.

      10. The larva/pupa of Formica yessensis Forel.

      11. The larva/pupa of Lasius flavus Fabricius.

      12. The larva/pupa of Oecophylla smaragdina Fabricius.

      13. The egg/larva/pupa/adult of Polyrhachis dives Smith.

      14. The larva/pupa of Polyrhachis illaudata Walker.

      15. The egg/larva/pupa/adult of Polyrhachis lamellidens Smith.

      16. The egg/larva/pupa/adult of Polyrhachis vicina Roger.

      17. The egg/larva/pupa/adult of Tetramorium caespitum L.

7. Insectivorous culture as sustainable development of food in China

China has a long insectivorous culture and important insect food resources. The characteristics of insect diversity and high nutritional value promise the great potentials to utilize these precious resources. At present, the development and utilization of China’s edible insects are mainly in two aspects: the insect dishes and insect protein products.

7.1. Insect dishes in China quickens your appetite

Chinese insect dishes and foods often include traditional and innovative ways of two eating, such as oil silkworm chrysalis, Cicada Fried Crispy Fried locust Lang, Chinese caterpillar fungus duck and Tremella silkworm chrysalis, etc. Also, the insects could be used as ingredients for bread, insect drinks and wine. Edible insects can also be processed into insect nutrients liquid and health products as the main raw materials that are currently fashionable gifts to share for human health. And, most of this kind of products in China are listed as follows: the enzyme hydrolyzation of honeybee pupa protein and honeybee pupa drink; Royal Jelly Capsules, Royal jelly cream and Royal jelly powder; Drone pupa wine, Gekko‐drone wine which is prepared with Gekko, drone pupa, Lycium chinense and rice wine and through twice soaking.Tussah pupa protein nutrition solution; Amino acid drink of yellow powder insect caterpillar protein; Amino acid drink of sweet potato hawkmoth canned; Soy sauce of silkworm chrysalis; Dry bread cake of silkworm chrysalis protein; Silk protein beverage and jelly, silkworm moth oil and wine, etc. In addition, the raw materials of nutritional health products used more ants as well, which will satisfy the demands of treating different diseases like tracheitis, active chronic gastritis, dysmenorrhea, psychoneurosis, pulmonary tuberculosis, alopeci and impotence, etc.

7.2. The development of insect protein products in China

The fly pupae are mainly used as raw material to develop traditional curative food and make the high protein food through processing. These research works currently focus on the development and utilization of several kinds of insects: flies, locust, cicadas and silkworms and so on. Then, this kind of eating insects is rich in protein, which can be compared to other foods such as meat and eggs. They can, not only solve the food shortage, but also food crisis of global food inequality in the near future.

Extensive and profound Chinese food culture is glamorous. The miracle of insectivorous culture refers to a gorgeous art of diet culture treasure in China. At once, as one of the most urgent tasks in the development and utilization of insects, edible insects can be converted to a steady stream of elegant food dedicated to all humanity.

© 2017 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Weiping Yin, Junna Liu, Huaqing Liu and Biyu Lv (October 4th 2017). Nutritional Value, Food Ingredients, Chemical and Species Composition of Edible Insects in China, Future Foods, Heimo Mikkola, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.70085. Available from:

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