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Proc Biol Sci. 2000 Nov 22;267(1459):2247-52.

The importance of leaf- and litter-feeding invertebrates as sources of animal protein for the Amazonian Amerindians.

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1
Department of Biology, Padova University, 35100 Padova, Italy. paoletti@civ.bio.unipd.it

Abstract

At least 32 Amerindian groups in the Amazon basin use terrestrial invertebrates as food. Leaf- and litter-consuming invertebrates provide the more important, underestimated food sources for many Amerindian groups. Further, litter-consuming earthworms are also an important food resource for the Ye'Kuana (also known as Makiritare) in the Alto Orinoco (Amazonas, Venezuela). By selecting these small invertebrates the Amerindians are choosing their animal food from those food webs in the rainforest which have the highest energy flow and which constitute the greatest renewable stock of readily available nutrients. Here we show that the consumption of leaf- and litter-feeding invertebrates as a means of recovering protein, fat and vitamins by the forest-living peoples offers a new perspective for the development of sustainable animal food production within the paradigm of biodiversity maintenance.

PMID:
11413639
PMCID:
PMC1690813
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2000.1275
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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