Lifestyle, Travel

La chicatana

By nature I found it interesting to explain you why we get our name inspired by this amazing creature the “CHICATANA”

Yes, look at an insect just like that can someone think has annoying little critters that sting us or spoil our picnics or in a good way has a little diamond from nature. 

When you will know more about this precious ant, you are going to feel and regards at it much more than just has an insect.

"Look deep into nature and you will understand everything much better"

- Albert Einstein

Let me explain you, what are the chicatana?

If you look all around the earth, there are 1.4 billion insects per person on this planet*.

Their size doesn’t show the importance that they have in different ecosystems. Has a crucial component, they perform in many important functions, (they aerate the soil, pollinate blossoms, control insect and plant pests, etc.)

Individually, insects are not incredibly interesting, unless you get down on the ground to look at their complexity.

Along with honeybees, ants are some of the most intelligent beings on the planet, along with dolphins and humans” - Deborah Gordon

CHICATANA; Leaf-cutter ants (atta laevigata )
Family: Formicidae 

This little ants are farmers.

Starving leaves from the plants around their nests to use them as a substrate for a special fungus that they cultivate.

Its from their own grow mushrooms that the chicatana get their food.

They are desired!?

Considerate has the Earth’s ultimate super-organisms.

Maybe a good solution, a super food for the future?

2,086 species of insect are eaten by 3,071 different ethnic groups in about 130 countries.” say David MacNeal

Since a millions of years ago, insects are a regular part of the local diets of different ethnic groups, as a cheap source of food to meet nutrition requirements for human health.

A study was made to assess the nutritional content of Chicatana ants, an adult stage of the Formicidae family, and it’s great links with a positive impact on human health.

“Sample was collected in summer 2017 in Oaxaca City, and analysed according to AOAC techniques, 1995. Results are the means of three determinations. Data obtained was: Protein 31.88%, Lipid 34.65%, Fibre 6.13%, Mineral 7.58%, and soluble Carbohydrates 19.76%. Chicatana ant is not only a good source of macronutrients for body maintenance, but also for health improvement of human beings.” 

These precious ants with wings, (the queens and kings), come out of their nests, only  during the first strong rains of the year, just one or two days.

They appear for their nuptial fly in the night.

 Literally happen like rain of ants, they loose their wings at the first ray of sunshine, (are thus gathered in this period).  

 The Chicatana are one of the most common edible insects, consumed in Mexico.

Prehispanic food part of the traditional gastronomy here in OAXACA, everybody are exiting, waiting for it. 

“Aprovechando de lo que le offrece la naturaliza ” 

Enjoying the gift from natural sources to fill it up the body unconsciously with the best nutrient.

For them it’s like a kind of spiritual gift from nature, the same as the “chapulines”_grasshoppers.

After starving they toasted in the “comal” (thin disk of unglazed clay or metal that is used to mexican cook).

They eat it just like peanuts, transformed into salsa or into a great dish like “costilla de Puerto en salsa de chicatana…”

Why I choose "La Chica Chicatana"?

I have a long story with this little ant, not so little…

A time, when I was living down into the tropical forest of Colotepec, 20 minutes south east from Puerto Escondido (small town in Oaxaca , south pacific coast of Mexico).

Living with the strict necessary without electricity or water, the shower in a tree.

I was taking care of a ranch, sharing great moment and documenting a lifestyle of people from there.

 This paradisiac place, was rapidly turning into a big challenge to make our place vs the insect and wildlife around.

Among Anthropods, this leaf-cutter ants.  

Impress by their size and their giant heads in shape of a heart. 

I understand very fast to anticipate the night coming, hiding our fruits or protecting construction that we were building in fresh leaves for our camp. Also looking well where I step the ground because when they decide to bite, haha, yes they bite…

So, my first living with chicatana was really like a conflictual, till the moment that a learn to catch them for feeding. 

I was underestimated their values.

Now I look this ant just has a pretty red-gold gift from nature.

In the coast, when they go out from their nest, the beach gets full of them waiting for their last wave.

This little ants are joining both parts of the world, the traditional and the future. 

They reminder to never underestimated the small things of life, often in the shadow. A useful balance that can equilibrate the future.

Like in the middle of a tone of different craft in the world I will speak about craft from Oaxaca.

Traditional craftsmanship tries to survive selling their talents in beauty that come with the skills and knowledge passed through generations since a wide time to today.

This valorous and precious craft are downgrade and in extinction.

Protecting their creation, it’s protecting knowledge and skill. 

Like reported in the UNESCO*

“Traditional craftsmanship is perhaps the most tangible manifestation of intangible cultural heritage.”

The story of the place, it’s in their art _
let's make the ethics a luxury

The chicatana are this natural element,  indispensable for our future.

I love creating this symbiosis, contrasting the local crafts fused with innovative materials and my designs in collection that will tell you our story.

So, for honoured in cute metaphor, I shaped our precious CHICATANA

Remember this little ant, in each creation of 

 “la chica chicatana” she will be there!

I wish like to know…..

Did you knew or listen about the Chicatana before reading this?

Maybe have you ever tried it?

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