I was thinking about how bees can produce honey and human can eat it. After that I came up with question. What are the smallest animal that can produce food for human?


1 Answer 1


It would depend on what you consider food, but if you consider things that contribute to food substances (e.g. food dyes) then cochineal scale mites are only about 5 mm (0.2 in) long and produce a red dye that is commonly used as a food colorant.

There are also several ant species of similar size that are eaten as food sources. For example, Liometopum apiculatum (6-7 mm adult) grubs are/were harvested as a food source in parts of the USA and Mexico.

  • $\begingroup$ I cannot find the size of Chaoborus edulis but they might be a contender: Kunga cake. $\endgroup$
    – Roland
    Jan 16, 2023 at 8:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Roland I knew of that one, but didn't know the name or which region of Africa it was from, so I didn't try to find it. You should write your own answer based on this. Bugguide.net suggests 8-10 mm for the genus. $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Jan 16, 2023 at 9:04
  • $\begingroup$ I'll throw in my 2 cents and say fungi, especially yeast (or other fungi used for blue-cheese etc.), typically measuring 3–4 µm in diameter and could be perceived as 'producer' since it's converting sugars via fermentation.. $\endgroup$
    – iLuvLogix
    Jan 16, 2023 at 12:42
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @iLuvLogix That's not an animal as OP requested. $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Jan 16, 2023 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ @bob1 Thanks for pointing that out - a quick search revealed that they seem to have a seperate kingdom of their own (besides plants and animals) - my bad.. $\endgroup$
    – iLuvLogix
    Jan 17, 2023 at 15:31

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