Despite their name, mopane worms are not worms at all, but the caterpillar of a species of emperor moth known as Gonimbrasia belina. The worms are highly nutritious, and some even regard them as truly delicious. Mashonzha also called Mopane Worms, Mopani Worms, Masonja or Amasonja are a delicacy throughout Southern Africa in countries like South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Mopane worms get their English name from their preference for mopane trees, a relatively common species found in the northern areas of Southern Africa. The best time to harvest them is late in their larval stage, when they're plump and juicy and haven't yet burrowed underground to pupate into their moth phase. Mopane worms are called phane in Botswana, mashonja/masonja/madora in Zimbabwe and South Africa, and omangungu in Namibia.