Charlotte LR Payne
Trying to find some gusanos blancos..Photo credit: Luis Patron
I now work as an editor a Nature Human Behaviour, but this website focuses on another par of my life - my research on insects as food.
I began to think about insects as a food that might have been important in shaping human evolution, as every known primate eats insects. I soon discovered their more immediate relevance: Today, insects remain a popular food with human societies worldwide; and there is also evidence that they were eaten by our relatively recent non-human ancestors.
And I got increasingly excited by the idea that insects could also be an important food in the future, particularly as a source of protein and micronutrients that is less harmful to the environment than conventional livestock.
During 2015-19 I did my doctoral research in the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, looking at the potential of edible insects to meet the current need for a protein source that is both healthy and sustainable. My PhD thesis focused on the use of caterpillars as food in Southwestern Burkina Faso.
I also worked with Insects and People of the Southwest Indian Ocean (IPSIO) and as the Sustainability Developer for ENTOTRUST. Before this, I worked in central rural Japan, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Oaxaca, Mexico. If you’re interested in insect consumption in all or any of these places, please take a look at my research pages, and contact me if you've any questions.
I've written blogs in English and (sometimes) Japanese.
(I should probably clarify something else here! Liberty and Ruth are nothing to do with insects, they're just my middle names.)
Giant hornets, fresh from the nest
Feeding bait to a social wasp ('hebo)