The Pacific lamprey (Lampetra tridentate) is an important and highly valued food species by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest. They continue to harvest this species mostly by hand at anadromous migration concentration sites such as Willamette Falls in Oregon.
Warren W. Aney Senior Wildlife Ecologist Tigard, OR -----Original Message----- From: Ecological Society of America: grants, jobs, news [mailto:ECOLOG-L@LISTSERV.UMD.EDU] On Behalf Of David Inouye Sent: Thursday, 01 May, 2014 15:59 To: ECOLOG-L@LISTSERV.UMD.EDU Subject: [ECOLOG-L] Summary of responses about edible parasites Thanks to the many people who responded, some off-list. Here's a summary so far, of a very interesting topic. David Inouye My original message cited pea crabs, parasitic on oysters and mussels, (apparently a favorite of George Washington): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/880556 http://www.sms.si.edu/IRLFieldGuide/Pinnot_ostreu.htm and the corn smut huitlachoche. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/27/huitlacoche-corn-smut-goo_n_553422. html The lobster mushroom, Hypomyces spp., would be another one. It's an ascomycete parasitizing basidiomycetes of the Russula genus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypomyces_lactifluorum Lobster mushrooms (Hypomyces lactifluorum) are fungi which parasitize other fungi, typically gilled mushrooms, and they're sometimes considered a delicacy by mushroomers. I happen to consider this an absolutely bone-stupid thing to do, because the Hypomyces usually smothers the host mushroom and makes identification impossible--which means anyone who eats one is potentially eating Hypomyces and something deadly underneath. But there are 'shroomers who love their lobsters. Lamprey has long been considered a delicacy enjoyed by royalty. See http://www.godecookery.com/nboke/nboke68.html for an old recipe. Lamprey pie is still enjoyed in the UK. King Henry I reportedly died of overindulgence in lamprey. Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamprey On 4 March 1953, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_II_of_the_United_Kingdom>Queen Elizabeth II's coronation pie was made by the <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Air_Force>Royal Air Force using lampreys. June 2012 - Queen Elizabeth, celebrated the diamond jubilee of her ascent to the throne, which marked the 60th anniversary of her coronation, was sent a lamprey pie. I'll admit that I first learned of eating lampreys while reading the "Game of Thrones" series.... http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/PieHistory/LampreyPie.htm Also a Finnish delicacy: http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/eat-and-drink/3940-delicious-lamprey-s-looks-are -deceptive.html Guthrie, R. D. 2005. The Nature of Paleolithic Art. University of Chicago Press. http://books.google.com/books?id=3u6JNwMyMCEC&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=inuit+eat+wa rble+fly+larvae&source=bl&ots=JNvVRqWlUt&sig=LcoqBPY9Sku4XZb7z86tl6R2gPQ&hl= en&sa=X&ei=Z8FiU_rNAtGHogT3iYDICQ&ved=0CEUQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=inuit%20eat%20 warble%20fly%20larvae&f=false "There are thousands of images that can give us a more rounded view of Paleolithic people and their times, images that are not customarily shown in coffee table volumes. Take, for example, these little wormlike creatures from Paleolithic art. Eskimo from northern Alaska delight in eating the large spring maggots, or larvae, of the reindeer warble fly, Oedemagena tarandi. I suspect Eurasian people did the same in the Paleolithic. This is one of the few insects eaten by northern people. When reindeer are killed, the hide is skinned back and the warbles are exposed on the underside. They are fat and salty, a spring treat: I have tried them several times. During this time of year many people in the villages have sore throats from the raspers on the maggots' sides." Liver flukes, copepods parasitic on fish, tapeworms and others are mentioned in this address from a President of the American Society of Parasitologists: Overstreet, R. M. (2003). "Flavor buds and other delights." Journal of Parasitology 89(6): 1093-1107. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1305&context=paras itologyfacpubs ["flavor buds" = reindeer warble fly larvae] http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10370_12150_12220-26639--,00.html has a photo of the "little liver" that is a deer liver fluke, mentioned in that paper. This one is used in Chinese medicine: Ophiocordyceps sinensis <http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/08/tibetan-mushroom/finkel-text>http ://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/08/tibetan-mushroom/finkel-text In my mycology class, I mentioned examples of parasitic fungi as food and medicine, such as succulent stem of Zizania latifolia infected by Yenia esculenta (Ustilago esculenta); necrotrophic parasites of insect adults, larvae or pupae by caterpillar fungus (Cordyceps sinensis), certainly including huitlacoche infected by corn smut fungus (Ustilago maydis) as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ustilago_esculenta Medicinal use of dodder: https://sites.google.com/site/medicinalplantshealing/list-of-plants/dodder It depends on whether you view plant fungal endophytes as parasites or mutualists - they can be both. I don't know specifically about the endophyte load in crop plants, but if it is like others then we eat them all the time! Also, tape worms (Burtiella flanneryi) from the coppery ringtail are eaten.. http://books.google.com/books?id=mfYofzsIzlAC&pg=PA122&lpg=PA122&dq=%22edibl e+parasites%22&source=bl&ots=7scvWxQfJQ&sig=Gguk_0C3Yz3_kz1MsX6yHkuEW1s&hl=e n&sa=X&ei=jnZiU8WBLI6dyATZ2IGQDA&ved=0CEEQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=%22edible%20par asites%22&f=false I would consider oyster mushrooms parasitic when they are growing on live trees.. From an entomologist: But I have a broader definition of parasites than you are probably using. Aphids are classic plant parasites - smaller than their host, feed on <1 host in their lifespan, have chronic but typically non-fatal effects on hosts.... etc. Many insect herbivores and plant parasites and some are clearly food in other cultures. Freshwater mussels (Unionoida) parasitic on fish as larvae (glochidia), are eaten in some parts of the world once they're free-living filter feeding adults. They have not commonly been used as food in North America because they're not especially palatable, because many are threatened species, and often live in polluted streams, rivers, and lakes. I have heard of them being harvested for food and even sold in markets in China, just watch out for pearls.