The sought after wattle grub

A NAROOMA News reader found this large white grub in a black wattle tree that was felled recently.

The wattle grub or bardi grub or even witchetty grub is known by aboriginals as wuijiti grub and they can be found throughout Australia.

The moth of the wattle grub lays her eggs on trees that are usually under stress and damaged with nicks in the bark and scars which are great places for the moth to lay her eggs, about 15,000 at a time.

Not all of the eggs survive but the ones that do hatch into grubs that burrow under the bark and head for the heartwood of the tree.  

It takes about three to five years for the grub to mature.

If the tree dies in that time the grubs head for the outer layer of bark and pupate turning into moths.

During their growth the grubs put on most of their weight and have a high fat content. The moth, when hatched cannot feed as it has no mouth parts because its role as a moth is to mate and lay eggs and die.

The grub has historically been a staple in the diets of Indigenous Australians and is much sought after as bait for catching fresh water fish, with grubs retailing between $5 and $6 each.

According to Wikipedia, ‘they are edible either raw or lightly cooked in hot ashes’. 

‘The raw witchetty grub tastes like almonds and when cooked the skin becomes crisp like roast chicken while the inside becomes light yellow, like a fried egg.’

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