Etnoentomologia no povoado de Pedra Branca, município de Santa Terezinha, Bahia. Um estudo de caso das interações seres humanos/insetos.
Costa Neto, Eraldo Medeiros
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The great diversity of insect species is perceived, classified, known, and used in different ways by many different human cultures. Considering the affective, cognitive and behavior aspects of the complex relationship that human beings maintain with these animals, an ethnoentomological research has been carried out with the dwellers of a small community from Bahia State countryside. Fieldwork was done from February to May 2001 in the village of Pedra Branca, which belongs to the town of Santa Terezinha. This town is located in the central-west region of the state. Data were obtained through open and semi-structured interviews, as well as by behavior observation by using the usual techniques of ethnographic recording. Most of the interviews were tape recorded. A total of 74 males and 79 females, whose ages ranged from 4 to 108 years old, were interviewed. Key-specialists were identified through the evidence of consolidated ethnoentomological knowledge. Results show the feelings, thoughts (knowledge and beliefs), and behaviors that intermediate the relationship between the dwellers of Pedra Branca and the local entomofauna. The following aspects were seen in the affective dimension: the perception and the emic construction of the ethnozoological dominion insect ; the negative impacts of the direct action of insects on human health; the ethnospecies considered as plagues; and the association of these animals to beneficial and/or harmful events. As for the cognitive dimension, the following aspects were observed: ethnoontogeny, biotransformation, and the natural history of those ethnospecies that were considered culturally important, such as wasps, bees, cicadas, ants, and spider wasps; an emphasis was given to the knowledge about ethnotaxonomy, distribution, phenology, ethology, abundance, seasonality, food ecology, and habitat. The behavioral dimension dealt with the usage of insects as medicines, food, toys, decorative pieces, and in rituals. It can be concluded that insects fulfill a significant meaning in the social-cultural life of the inhabitants of the Serra da Jibóia region. Their ethnoentomological knowledge manifests itself as a valuable resource that is sufficient to be taken into account in the developing process of the region, as well as in studies concerning the inventory of the local fauna.