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Shea caterpillars
Shea caterpillars

Shea caterpillars

Shea caterpillars


Scientific name

Cirina butyrospermi


dried shea caterpillars by the bug trotters, delicious edible insectsWhere can you find this insect ?

Shea caterpillars are consumed in Burkina Faso, in the region of Bobo-djoulassou.


Common name

Chitoumou in Burkina Faso








Shea caterpillars are eaten in big quantity during the rainy season in August. Mature caterpillars leave the leaves they eat to bury themselves in the ground, and transform into a cocoon before becoming a butterfly 9 months later. This is while going down the trunk of the Shea Tree that they’re collected using a traditional method.





Economy around caterpillars

Caterpillars harvesting creates a lot of employment opportunities in the villages. Those dried caterpillars are sold  along the roads between 1500 and 2000 fcfa/kg ( $2,5 and 3,5). Some companies like FasoPro also transform caterpillars into powder or biscuits and sell it within  the country and abroad.



Taste and texture

Shea caterpillars have a grass taste, certainly because their only food are leaves ! Fresh and cooked in a broth, caterpillars are delicious, the texture looks a bit like squid or meat. Once dried, the taste is more like dried fish !


Nutritional composition

Shea caterpillars are rich in iron and in omega 3 fatty acids !


Nutritional composition of dried shea caterpillars

Proteins 63 %
Minerals  5 %
        including iron      13 mg/100g
 Carbohydrates  13 % 
 Lipids  14 %
       including Omega 3      36 %
 Fibres (chitin)   %
Energy 432 kcal/100g

Source: Morgane Paul M. Anvo et al. Nutritional qualities of edible caterpillars Cirina butyrospermi in southwestern of Burkina Faso. International Journal of Innovation and Applied Studies Vol. 18 No. 2 Oct. 2016, pp. 639-645


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