Scapsipedus icipe

Researchers at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Nairobi, Kenya have discovered a new species of crickets in Kenya which they say is fit for human consumption.

ICIPE on Wednesday said the “previously undescribed edible cricket” offers “great promise for mass production for human consumption and inclusion as an alternative protein ingredient in animal feeds.”

The species, which was collected and reared for experimental purposes at the Centre’s campus, has been named Scapsipedus icipe.

Icipe scientist, Dr Tanga Mbi, who found the insect as part of his postdoctoral research, said the cricket is characterised by a distinctive yellow band between the eyes and is commonly found around buildings and fields.

“Our study highlights the species’ habitat, molecular and morphological characterisation, acoustic behaviour, including male’s call and courtship song, current distribution in Kenya and nutritional profile of the cricket species. This knowledge is important as it will enable the development of proper, more effective rearing techniques, and ultimately the effective incorporation of the species as a component in food and feed,” notes Dr Tanga Mbi.

Nanna Roos, Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, said the discovery of the edible cricket is important.

“We have tested indigenous Kenyan cricket species to investigate their potential to become ‘mini-livestock’ for mass production for feed and food. Therefore, the discovery of Scapsipedus icipe is exciting and important, not just because it is a new species to science, but because the species already has demonstrated great potential large-scale farming,” she said.