A bug feast including crickets and wax worms on toothpick skewers for dipping in a fountain of melted chocolate was served up in New Orleans.

The menu at the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium also included "tarsal toffee" made with bug legs and mealworms and fudge infused with crickets and marshmallows.

The facility is the largest free-standing museum in the United States dedicated to insects. It houses thousands of live bugs, including beetles, cockroaches, wasps, bees, ants and termites.

It also has a butterfly exhibit created to resemble a Japanese garden.

Insect-infused cuisine is also a huge draw. Every year thousands visit the museum's Bug Appetit kitchen, where six-legged critters and worms are cooked and served.

There is a Tiny Termite Cafe with bug-free foods for the less-adventurous eaters.

"We get every range of reaction in here," said Zack Lemann, the museum's animal and visitor programmes manager. "There are people who come here knowing about Bug Appetit, and they come to eat the bugs. We also have people who have trepidation and anxiety. Some just won't try it."

Mr Lemann said the Food and Drug Administration allows 60 or more microscopic insect fragments for each 100 grams of chocolate - so it's not a huge leap to just go ahead and have a whole bug.

The chocolate-infused bug fare was being offered as a special "treat" alongside the museum's year-round offerings of chocolate "chirp" cookies - made with crickets - sugared wax worms and spicy Cajun crickets.

"I wish I could get her to eat vegetables like she eats bugs," said Val Russell of her eight-year-old daughter Porter, who ate three chocolate-dipped wax worms and went back for seconds of the cricket-infused fudge.