Suara Serangga Papua, 2007, 1 (3) January – March 2007
‘Debetkun’ as an alternative source of protein
In Papua are over 50,000 species of insects, including over 30,000 beetles (Petocz, 1987). About 50% of the insects is rich in protein. The local society in Papua is using several insects, e.g. the Sago larva or ‘debetkun’ (in Moi language: debet = Sago; kun = larva), Rhyncophorus bilineatus. This beetle is breeding in the cut Sago trees (Metroxylon spp.) which have ‘pati’, the heart of the tree after the tree is cut. The larvae of this beetle cannot live in trees without pati, in trees still in good condition and usually do not form pests.
“Debetkun” is eaten raw or can be fried, cooked or smoked or prepared in another way. In markets these larvae are expensive. Collecting these larvae is helping the farmers not becoming pests. However, it would be a good idea to investigate the possibilities to farm these insects, becoming an alternative source of protein for the society in Papua.