Mopane worms

Mopane worms are traditionally offered to foreigners visiting Zimbabwe as a welcoming snack. The worms are hand-picked from mopane trees in the wild. Now, climate modelers are projecting an expansion of mopaneforest in Zimbabwe, but at the expense of other natural forest species, such as miombo and baikiaea.

More mopani trees may not necessarily mean an increased abundance of mopane worm, of course—there may be other factors to consider. But, while a potential increase in tasty, welcoming mopane worms doesn’t seem like a bad deal, the warmer and drier climate that suits mopane forest expansion is, in fact, a warning sign: Zimbabwe is becoming a climate change hotspot. Climate change hotspots are zones where strong signals about the climate come together with high concentrations of vulnerable people present. Global Circulation Models provide estimates of trends that show consistent warming in Southern Africa. —