Documentation hampered by incomplete or variable genetic records

Documentation about entomophagy coupling insects to host-plants was limited to individuals who recorded their interactions with Aboriginal people as they occurred. Strong evidence suggests that many authors did not participate in exclusive trips to record insect/host-plant relationship which has resulted in some authors just repeating what was already written.

European evidence of the ‘witchetty’ name began when Stirling (1896) noted that the name ‘witchetty’ described the stick that was used to pull grubs out from plants and trees.Ecological and biogeographic changes in insect-herbivore associations can occur without obvious co-evolution (Strong, D. 1979). A substantial fraction of plant-eating insect species can include more than one plant species in its diet (pp’s 69, 73, 111), and many can complete life-cycles on any of several host taxa. Lepidoptera and Coleoptera species are common of phytophagous insect species, so this can create the potential for frequent host shifts (Strong, 1979).

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Host–herbivore interactions are central to co-evolutionary relationships for a large proportion of species on the Earth, but their study is frequently hampered by incomplete or variable genetic records (Aikenhead, 2001).


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