Gonimbrasia belina is a species of moth that originates from South Africa. The caterpillar (Mopane worm) is edible and is an important food source for indigenous South Africans, providing them with an excellent source of protein.
The caterpillar is called a Mopane (or Mopani) worm in English because it’s usually found on the mopane tree.
Mopane worms are harvested by hand in the wild, often by women and their children. When the Mopane worm has been collected, it’s squeezed at the tail end to burst the insides. The picker then pinches it together it like a tube of toothpaste, and pounds it to remove the gooey, green contents.
The Mopane worms are then dried in the sun or smoked which gives them more flavour. The commercial manufacturing technique is to can the worms in a salt water brine solution. They are then packed and sold at supermarkets and markets around South Africa.
Dried Mopane worms are often eaten raw as a crispy snack. Alternatively they can be soaked to rehydrate, before cooking until crispy, or they can be added to a stew with onion, tomatoes and spices.
It’s worth noting that Mopane worms contain three times for protein than beef, weight for weight.