January 1, 1906
Insects and grubs are highly important articles of food in many parts, and the natives got fat on them.
The Natives of Australia
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Insects and grubs are highly important articles of food in many parts. Mention has already been made of the Agrotis spina moth as an important item in the food of some of the natives of New South Wales. To procure them they lighted fires under the rocks on which they collect, and when the moths fell down they were collected in bushels ; a fire was lighted and kept burning till the ground was considered hot enough ; then the ashes were cleared away, the moths placed on the heated ground, and stirred about till the down and wings came off. After winnowing, they were eaten, or placed in a wooden vessel and pounded. Sometimes they were smoked ; otherwise they would not keep longer than a week. In taste they resemble a sweet nut, but the effects for the first few days are unpleasant. The natives, however, got fat on them, and so did their dogs. Many kinds of grubs are eaten. They had a special instrument for drawing them out of the trees. Ants' pupae or eggs are also a favourite food. Sometimes the pupae were winnowed clear of ants, but in Queensland the two are eaten together, mixed with salt water. In some parts the ants are allowed by a hungry aboriginal to run up his legs: he then sweeps them off and puts them into his mouth as fast as his hands can serve him.