Witchetty grub

The witchetty grub (also spelled witchety grub or witjuti grub[1]) is a term used in Australia for the large, white, wood-eating larvae of several moths. Particularly it applies to the larvae of the cossid moth Endoxyla leucomochla, which feeds on the roots of the witchetty bush (after which the grubs are named) that is widespread throughout Northern Territory and found in parts of Western Australia and South Australia.[2] The term may also apply to larvae of other cossid moths, ghost moths (Hepialidae), and longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae). The term is used mainly when the larvae are being considered as food. The grub is the most important insect food of the desert and has historically been a staple in the diets of Aboriginal Australians.[3]

Witchetty grub
Witchetty grubs (Endoxyla leucomochla) of the subfamily Zeuzerinae

The different larvae are said to taste similar, probably because they have similar wood-eating habits. Edible either raw or lightly cooked in hot ashes, they are sought as a high-protein food by Aboriginal Australians. The raw witchetty grub tastes similar to almonds, and when cooked, the skin becomes crisp like roast chicken, while the inside becomes light yellow, like a fried egg.[3]

The Arabana term for the grub is mako witjuti (with emphasis on initial syllables); mako means grub, and witjuti refers to the shrub, not the grub itself.[4] Similarly, Ngalea peoples referred to the grub as "mako wardaruka", meaning grubs of the wardaruka (Acacia ligulata) shrub. It has been suggested that the word witchetty comes from Adynyamathanha wityu, "hooked stick", and vartu, "grub". Traditionally, it is rare for people to dig for them.[3] Witchetty grubs feature as Dreamings in many Aboriginal paintings. When held, as a defense mechanism, the grubs will secrete a brown liquid.[3]

These grubs live in trees. They can also be found in black wattle trees, and are attributed as the reason why wattles die within 10 to 15 years. The roots of the Acacia kempeana shrub are another source of the grubs.

See also


  1. ^ "CSIRO - Witjuti grub".
  2. ^ Marshall Cavendish Corporation (2003). Insects and Spiders of the World. Marshall Cavendish. p. 625. ISBN 978-0-7614-7344-2.
  3. ^ a b c d Isaacs, Jennifer (2002). Bush Food: Aboriginal Food and Herbal Medicine. Frenchs Forest, New South Wales: New Holland Publishers (Australia). pp. 190–192. ISBN 978-1-86436-816-1.
  4. ^ Tindale, Norman (1952). "On some Australian Cossidae including the moth of the witjuti (witchety) grub". Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia. 76: 56.

External links

The dictionary definition of witchety grub at Wiktionary

Adnyamathanha language

Adnyamathanha (pronounced ; many other names, see below) or yura ngarwala is an Australian Aboriginal language. It is the traditional language of the Adnyamathanha and related peoples.

The name of the witchetty grub comes from Adnyamathanha.

Estimates of the number of people who speak Adnyamathanha are variable, though it is definitely severely endangered. According to Oates 1973 there were only 30 speakers, around 20 according to Schmidt in 1990, 127 in the 1996 census, and about 107 counted in the 2006 census.Yura ngarwala is a widely used term for the Adnyamathanha language. It translates literally to 'people speak'. However, in modern times yura has come to mean 'Adnyamathanha person', rather than 'person' generally, and thus the term translates to 'Adnyamathanha person speak'.


Apitherapy is a branch of alternative medicine that uses honey bee products, including honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom. Proponents of apitherapy make claims for its health benefits which are unsupported by evidence-based medicine.

Bush medicine

Bush medicine comprises traditional medicines used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia.

Traditional medicine has been defined as the sum of the total knowledge, skills and practices based on the theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health, as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness. Bush medicine is also connected to the holistic worldview in such a way that the interplay between the physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects is crucial in attaining wellbeing.

Endoxyla leucomochla

Endoxyla leucomochla is a species of cossid moth endemic to Australia. The larva of the moth is commonly known as the "witchetty grub", and is widely used as bush tucker by Indigenous Australians.The caterpillars of the species live in underground tunnels where they feed on the sap from the roots of the witchetty bush (Acacia kempeana) and the small cooba (Acacia ligulata). The caterpillar grows to a length of about 7 cm, and pupates underground inside its tunnel.The adult moth is large (it has a wingspan of about 16 cm), with a fine mottled grey pattern and rusty red base on its wings. The moth has degenerate mouthparts, and is unable to feed itself, relying solely on nourishment obtained during its larval phase.Gallery

Flea circus

A flea circus is a circus sideshow attraction in which fleas are attached (or appear to be attached) to miniature carts and other items, and encouraged to perform circus acts within a small housing.

Helen Nelson Napaljarri

Helen Nelson Napaljarri (born c. 1949), also known as Helen White Napajarri or Helen Spencer Napaljarri, is a Walpiri-speaking Indigenous artist from Australia's Western Desert region. A literacy worker in Yuendumu, Northern Territory, Helen began painting with Warlukurlangu Artists in the 1980s. Her paintings are held by the Art Gallery of South Australia and South Australian Museum. She has contributed to several bilingual language books in Walpiri and English.

Indigenous Australian food groups

Indigenous Australian peoples traditionally classified food sources in a methodical way. Below are a few examples.


In the Karo language of North Sumatra, Kidu refers to the wood-eating larvae of the sugar palm, which is eaten, either raw or deep-fried, sometimes served in arsik sauce. It is not to be confused with kidu-kidu, a Karo pork sausage so named because it resembles the kidu grub.

Lake Eacham

Lake Eacham (originally Yidyam or Wiinggina) is a popular lake of volcanic origin on the Atherton Tableland of Queensland, Australia, within the World Heritage listed Wet Tropics of Queensland.

List of edible insects by country

The following are edible insects that are locally consumed, as listed by country.

Man Eating Bugs

Man Eating Bugs: The Art and Science of Eating Insects is a non-fiction book by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Alusio.

Mimili, South Australia

Mimili is an Aboriginal community in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in South Australia, comprising one of the six main communities on "The Lands" (the others being Amata, Ernabella/Pukatja, Fregon/Kaltjiti, Indulkana and Pipalyatjara). At the 2006 census, Mimili had a population of 283.

After European settlement in the 19th century, there was a cattle station on the land, which was named Everard Park. The station was purchased by the South Australian government in 1972 before transferring it to the traditional owners.


Napaljarri or Napaltjarri is one of sixteen skin names used amongst Indigenous Australian people of Australia's Western Desert, including the Pintupi and Warlpiri. It is one of the eight female skin names. Skin names are often treated by Western cultures as equivalent to a surname; as a result the name is familiar to many as that of prominent Indigenous figures, such as artists Tjunkiya Napaltjarri, her sister Wintjiya Napaltjarri, and Linda Syddick Napaltjarri.


Ngiṉṯaka is a giant perentie lizard spirit being of Australian Aboriginal "Dreaming" Creation mythology.

Ngupulya Pumani

Ngupulya Pumani (born 1948 in Mimili) is an Australian Aboriginal artist from Mimili, in the north-west of South Australia. She is part of a well-known family of artists, who belong to the Yankunytjatjara community. Her mother, Milatjari, and her sister, Betty Kuntiwa, are both successful painters. Ngupulya has paintings held in the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.Ngupulya began painting in 2009, for Mimili's community art co-operative, Mimili Maku. She had been inspired to paint by her mother. Her first major exhibition was later that year in Alice Springs, at the annual "Desert Mob" show. Since then, her paintings have been exhibited in several cities around Australia, including twice at the Gallery Gabriella Pizzi in Melbourne.Ngupulya's paintings depict scenes and concepts from her family's Dreaming. Her mother's ngura (homeland) is Antara, and her father's is near Watarru. Antara is a sacred place associated with the Maku Tjukurpa (Witchetty Grub Dreaming), and Ngupulya most often paints stories from this Dreaming.

She uses pale, earthy colours in her backgrounds to depict the desert landscape, and this is contrasted with patterns of intense, bright dots and lines to represent symbols, figures and their journeys. Many of her techniques were taken from her mother, but used more consistently with her own refinements. The results have been compared to the early works of Emily Kngwarreye.

Norah Nelson Napaljarri

Norah Nelson Napaljarri (born 26 October 1956) is a Warlpiri-speaking Indigenous artist from Australia's Western Desert region. Norah Nelson began painting in 1986 and has exhibited her works both in Australia and other countries. Her paintings and pottery are held in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria.

Sheila Brown Napaljarri

Sheila Brown Napaljarri (c. 1940–2003) was a Warlpiri-speaking Indigenous artist from Australia's Western Desert region. A contributor to major collaborative paintings by Indigenous communities, her works are also held by the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the South Australian Museum.

Sunt celebru, scoate-mă de aici!

Sunt celebru, scoate-mă de aici! is the Romanian version of the I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! reality game show. The series premiered on February 16, 2015, on PRO TV. It is hosted by Cabral Ibacka and Mihai Bobonete.Sunt celebru, scoate-mă de aici! is a reality television game show series in which up to 13 celebrities live together in a jungle environment for a few weeks. They have no luxuries, and compete to be crowned king or queen of the jungle. The show is sponsored by Telekom Romania, a Romanian telecommunications company headquartered in Bucharest.

Wild Food

Wild Food Documentary is a documentary television series hosted by Ray Mears. The series airs on the BBC in United Kingdom, it is also shown on Discovery Channel in the United States, Canada, India, Italy, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands and Russia. The show was first broadcast with an episode set in Australia and ended with "Woodland". The theme tune is not unlike the one heard in World of Survival.

In Wild Food Documentary, Ray presents an informative guide to cookery, travelling across the world to demonstrate traditional cooking skills and cuisine.

of insects
in culture


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.