Conservation and Society

ARTICLE
Year
: 2016  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 359--367

Termites, Mud Daubers and their Earths: A Multispecies Approach to Fertility and Power in West Africa


James R Fairhead 
 Current Affiliation: Department of Anthropology, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

Correspondence Address:
James R Fairhead
Current Affiliation: Department of Anthropology, University of Sussex, Brighton
UK

The termites and mud-dauber wasps of West Africa build earthen structures in which their eggs and larvae develop. This paper examines how these insect earths are understood and used in West Africa, focusing on their direct consumption (geophagy) and medicinal qualities. Existing research reveals these earths to be enriched in minerals otherwise lacking in the diets of the region, and suggests that insects may also introduce anti-microbial properties into them. The paper examines the place of these earths in the lives of those who use them and through a 'multispecies' approach provides new insights into the ecological dimensions to 'religious' thought and practice, and of the respect that these insects command.


How to cite this article:
Fairhead JR. Termites, Mud Daubers and their Earths: A Multispecies Approach to Fertility and Power in West Africa.Conservat Soc 2016;14:359-367


How to cite this URL:
Fairhead JR. Termites, Mud Daubers and their Earths: A Multispecies Approach to Fertility and Power in West Africa. Conservat Soc [serial online] 2016 [cited 2019 Aug 19 ];14:359-367
Available from: http://www.conservationandsociety.org/article.asp?issn=0972-4923;year=2016;volume=14;issue=4;spage=359;epage=367;aulast=Fairhead;type=0