Indigenous knowledge systems began as the first humans used plants and animals for food, medicine, fuel and other uses. Particularly for animals, this inter-generational ethnozoological knowledge was transmitted orally and has not been thoroughly documented and checked. Yet indigenous knowledge is crucial to assess sustainability of bio-resources and will inform reachable management goals. One such example from southern Africa is the much favoured edible stinkbug Encosternum delegorguei Spinola In this paper we review existing information on this beneficial insect and integrate observations on host plants, insect biology, seasonal distribution and socio-economics from South Africa and to a lesser degree Zimbabwe. Moreover, we show that research originating from Malawi, in the last 37 years, have misnamed the edible stinkbug as Nezara robusta Distant and that the correct identification is E. delegorguei. Other studies on edible insects have been done on lepidoptera, where the larval stage is harvested during the summer season. In contrast, E. delegorguei has incomplete metamorphosis and the adult is harvested during winter, a time of food scarcity, suggesting that further investigations are warranted on this culturally and economically important insect. Adaptive management and increased exploitation of E. delegorguei are potential development options to investigate.
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