Ethno-entomology study


Etude Ethno-entomologique chez les communautés Palikur de Saint-Georges de l’Oyapock

Funding and duration

Observatoires Hommes-Milieux Oyapock, 2012


Guillaume Odonne



Project presentation

The place of insects in human societies is manifold; as an example in Ancient Egypt the scarab was revered as deity (Apis, Khepri, Iousaas) but it was also used for therapeutic . Today in Asian countries, the insects continue to be consumed in a massive way either for their nutritional value or for their medicinal potential. Similarly, in the Neotropics, the insects retain a special place in Native American cultures (Marake, craft shows, food, medicines). Unlike in Western societies, perception of the insect is mainly associated (with some exceptions) to a form of life harmful to our crops and also a vector of tropical diseases. Ethnopharmacology, the study of traditional medical drugs, continues to highlight new medicinal plant species, with some interesting developments in biomedical treatment. Animal products (from vertebrates) or mineral are regularly mentioned. Paradoxically, while there are on earth 4 to 5 times more insect species than plant species (low estimate), traditional medicines based on the use of insects are much less studied (it is sometimes state that 5% of traditional remedies are based on insects). Note that recently zootherapeutic studies were conducted in Brazil based on ethnopharmacology inquiries.The objective of this project is to create an initial overview of knowledge related to the use of insects in the community of Palikurs at St Georges de l’Oyapock, whether a food, medicinal, recreational or ritual perspective. Indeed, if the medicinal use of plants by Palikurs is no longer a doubt, data on the use of insects seem few, if any.This is also the case for the majority of Guyanese cultural groups, except the Wayana Marake ceremony that has already been well described. This first study would fill this gap.

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