Cicadas (insects) invaded many communities in the United States in 2013. Several news stories involved eating cicadas.
Isa Betancourt, entomologist with the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University in Philadelphia, said in May 2013, “I kind of see them as the shrimp of the land, so I prepare them how my family prepares shrimp.” Bon Appetit in May 29, 2013, posted the story “The Shrimp of the Dirt: 3 Southern Chefs Take on Cicadas.”
Cicadas (/sɪˈkɑːdə/ or /sɪˈkeɪdə/) are insects in the order Hemiptera, suborder Auchenorrhyncha (which was formerly included in the now invalid suborder Homoptera). Cicadas are in the superfamily Cicadoidea. Their eyes are prominent, though not especially large, and set wide apart on the anterior lateral corners of the frons. The wings are well-developed, with conspicuous veins; in some species the wing membranes are wholly transparent, whereas in many others the proximal parts of the wings are clouded or opaque and some have no significantly clear areas on their wings at all. About 2,500 species of cicada have been described, and many remain to be described. Cicadas live in temperate-to-tropical climates where they are among the most-widely recognized of all insects, mainly due to their large size and unique sound. Cicadas are often colloquially called locusts, although they are unrelated to true locusts, which are various species of swarming grasshopper. Cicadas are related to leafhoppers and spittlebugs.
Many people around the world regularly eat cicadas. They are known to have been eaten in Ancient Greece as well as China, Malaysia, Burma, Latin America, and the Congo. Female cicadas are prized for being meatier. Shells of cicadas are employed in the traditional medicines of China.
CBS New York
Cicadas For Dinner? Entomologist Calls Insects ‘The Shrimp Of The Land’
‘Bon Appetit And Go For It!’ Says Drexel U. Entomologist Isa Betancourt
May 14, 2013 2:48 PM
MEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – After 17 years underground, millions upon millions of cicadas have begun to emerge across the region.
Soon enough, the noisy insects will be everywhere.
One entomologist is among those who see the emergence of the cicadas as a great gastronomic delicacy.
“They’re most edible when they first emerge from the ground. You can take them right from the tree, that’s when they’re nice and soft for the eating,” Isa Betancourt, entomologist with the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University in Philadelphia told WCBS 880′s Steve Scott.
“I kind of see them as the shrimp of the land, so I prepare them how my family prepares shrimp,” Betancourt added.
Cicadas: “The Shrimp of the Land”
By VINCE LATTANZIO
updated 5/19/2013 7:15:29 AM ET
Billions of bite-sized snacks are about to appear in your backyard.
After nearly two decades living under the earth, cicadas are about to shake off the dirt and invade our great outdoors. And they’ll be ripe for your feasting says Isa Betancourt, an entomologist from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
“It’s a delicacy that’s rare,” says Betancourt, who’s known to dine on a few bugs from time to time. She calls cicadas “the shrimp of the land.”
“They are arthropods, which means they have an exoskeleton,” she said. “We regularly eat the arthropods of the sea and those are the shrimp, lobsters and crabs. And so cicadas are arthropods too.”
The Shrimp of the Dirt: 3 Southern Chefs Take on Cicadas
2:15 PM / May 29, 2013
/ Posted by Bon Appetit
From West Virginia, where that cookbook touted the pleasures to be had from this “shrimp of the dirt,” to Maryland, where in this cookbook cicadas get the star treatment normally reserved for blue crab, and on down South, the East Coast has lavished attention on this ultimate seasonal delicacy, whose season comes but once every 17 years or so. Which is why I longed to know what all the buzz was about. I grew up in Tidewater Virginia, and I recall eating some unusual stuff--pimento cheese, squirrel, and pickled okra pop to mind. But cicadas?
Turns out for all the lore about Southern cicada-eating traditions, living witnesses to such meals are as much myth as anything the Greeks ever cooked up. No one I knew had ever eaten them.