are tarantulas a sustainable food source?

esotericman

Arachnoknight
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Does anyone know of any population studies regarding the stability of tarantulas in Asia being used as food? I have not checked the literature, but arachnoboards is quite the metasearch engine, and figure someone has some information on the topic.

I just find it annoying to see imported for shock value animals being offered domestically.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/caffeine/wacky-edibles/e1b4/

With at least a dozen cultivated insects which could be used, I wonder if Thinkgeek would respond to a little factual based pressure.

In any case, this not exactly the product I wanted to see advertised in my email inbox. But that being said, if the populations are doing great, then I suppose it's only a food item from a biological stand point. Ethically... not my discussion, but I suppose that topic will populate this thread, I am only after numbers and facts.

Thanks.
 

Pociemon

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I have recently visited Thailand. At the area i was the locals have since the 80´s eaten the local population of haplopelma to extinction. It was not possible to find one at all, and i got help with a local guide, so i guess they just eat untill there is nothin left.
 

Tokendog

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A lot of food items become food because of someone being so hungry that they would eat basically anything to not starve.

It's not just because the item taste great; in most cases that's an after thought. It was the rumble in the belly that made man try the first cow, chicken, dog, cat, squid, tarantula, etc. etc.

I promise if you got hungry enough, you'd probably consider eating your tarantulas too. :>
 

Scorpendra

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Unless I'm mistaken, these areas lack the kind of large sources of protein found in other part of the world (cows, sheep, pigs, etc). You gotta make due with what you have, you know...I love seafood but a shrimp or a squid in itself doesn't look very appetizing. Then again, no animal really does.
 

AudreyElizabeth

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I have recently visited Thailand. At the area i was the locals have since the 80´s eaten the local population of haplopelma to extinction. It was not possible to find one at all, and i got help with a local guide, so i guess they just eat untill there is nothin left.
That is really sad. Unfortunately, this is the way it goes with a lot of animals. Whether it be for folk/traditional medicine, food, or fur. I wish it could be different.
 

Snakecharm

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Do a google search on 'deep fried tarantula.' Apparently it's a popular snack in some parts of Thailand. Can't speak to the sustainability of it, but it exists.

I also believe there are tribes in South America who count T. blondi as one of their traditional prey items.
 

Stopdroproll

Arachnoknight
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Some people don't realize the sustainability of a commodity. It's just deplete and move on, or "just business."
 

Ste Hughes

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Some people don't realize the sustainability of a commodity. It's just deplete and move on, or "just business."
some people do not have a shop for food and need to hunt...

:?

if its tribes of people in forrests who the hell are you to tell them other wise

what would you do in their feet (they dont have shoes)

starve

or

extinct a species...

i'd <EDIT -MrI> a T off completely if it meant it was food
 

Scorpendra

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Except, villagers who live in these countries aren't neolithic savages. By all means, life isn't as lofty as it is with us, but they still have markets and a society. Money is the driving force at work here; same reason shrunken heads became commercialized during the 30's and same reason Africans poach elephants and rhinos and Afghani poach snow leopards.
 
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Weird_Arachnid

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Just my two cents.

Adding a bit to the Thailand "T snack" its actually becoming more of a 'thing' to the point where there are conventions (like how we have the reptile expos) that has bug recipes and dishes to taste. Scorpions are included in this as well.

I've seen documentaries and that Zimmern show called "Bizzare Foods" that shows villagers/tribes who hunt inverts, cook/stew them.

I'm a bit guilty in this. I've tried fried crickets and friend meal worms (both dipped in chocolate (white and dark). Though I can't seem to bring myself to eating a tarantula.



...Supposedly the cobalt blues as well as other haplopelmas are becoming rare cause they're either eating them or just plain killing them for whatever harm the Ts are doing to livestock or villagers.
 

Pociemon

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That is really sad. Unfortunately, this is the way it goes with a lot of animals. Whether it be for folk/traditional medicine, food, or fur. I wish it could be different.
The only good thing they told me was that they got sick when bitten, the guy who helped me look for them was also an avid collector then, he had been bitten twice{D
 

Arachnos482

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I must say, I do understand that eating a t for survival is one thing, but it seems that it's now become more of a fad then a survival issue, and in that light i find it sickening... :barf:
 

HAGAR

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I must say, I do understand that eating a t for survival is one thing, but it seems that it's now become more of a fad then a survival issue, and in that light i find it sickening... :barf:
Unfortunately this is very true. Especially in the Thailand and Cambodia regions where the eating of t's has become a delicacy and something for tourists to do when they visit the villages.
 

webbedone

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I've eaten Chocolate crix too! I've also tried meal worms and grass hoppers and sugar coated scorpions, cant say i have eaten tarantulas tho ... MMMMMM ANIMALS!!!
 

blooms

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In China several inverts are on the menu. Walk down the snack street near Wangfujing in Beijing and you will be treated to kebabs with mesobuthus martensii impaled but still alive waiting to be fried, heterometrus kebabs, locust the size of my thumb kebabs as well as the ubiquitous silk worm cocoons. Most of the people eating these are not the Chinese, but tourists that want a story for back home. A long time ago I did try mesobuthus martensii kebabs. I regret it and wouldn't do it again.
 

Bill S

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some people do not have a shop for food and need to hunt...

:?

if its tribes of people in forrests who the hell are you to tell them other wise

what would you do in their feet (they dont have shoes)

starve

or

extinct a species...
This kind of argument gets trotted out a lot as a quick excuse for killing off species - but it doesn't really hold up well to close inspection. Historically (and prehistorically) the human species has been extremely wasteful. This is true of our modern wealthy society, and was also true in ancient times. The myth that primitive peoples killed only what they needed and ate/used every part of everything they killed has been falsely enshrined. Cultures that constantly live at the edge of starvation disappear - either they fail on their own or are displaced by other more efficient/successful cultures. I challenge anyone to point to a culture or society living today that truly depends on eating tarantulas (or any other bugs) to keep them alive. As others have pointed out, this is a fad and is supported by economic incentives. If tourists stopped spending money on this the villagers would find some other way to extract money from the tourists.
 

KnightinGale

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I wish I did have some numbers for you, but I'm afraid all I can offer is my opinion as well. And it is that I think tarantulas would be a very inefficient food source. I mean, I am sure they are very nutritious and are good in that way, but they are certainly unfavorable in others.
a) It can be a fair bit of work finding tarantula burrows and then harvesting them for such a small meal.
b) Tarantulas generally have long life-spans and can take several years to reach breeding age. Obviously they would be going for adults in this case and therefore removing with each "delicacy" the potential for hundreds or even thousands of eggs.
This is not to say that harvesting small numbers of tarantulas from an area is bad, but that if one wanted to maintain a population, one would have to be very careful about how they went about it, and for rather little return.

A final point is environmental damage. A person may carefully monitor the number of tarantulas that they are removing, but this removal must be done with knowledge and forethought or the damage done in the process could be worse than if they had taken many more. This is greatest risk in the more dry deserty areas when people may dig the spiders out of their burrows, but it is something that their little add never mentioned.
Sorry I didn't have any concrete studies for you, but I wanted to join in this discussion too. :)
As far as the thought of actually eating a tarantula? Well, I can't think of anything technically wrong with it, but in this case it just looks like an adult game of gross-out to me. Weeee

Knight in Gale
 

Bill S

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Following up on KnightinGale's comments - keep in mind that commercial collecting is commercial collecting. The same environmental damage that collecting for food causes is caused by collecting for the hobby trade. Actually, given that there are a lot more hobbyists than people who want to eat tarantulas, the hobby industry probably is more destructive - and the damage from this can be worldwide, not limited to one or two countries that serve bugs for dinner. Responsible collecting followed up by captive breeding does not destroy populations, but all too often commercial collectors and importers think only of the dollars they can make if they bring in even more animals.
 
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