Maggots are the larva (a juvenile form) of a fly. The name maggot is usually used for the larva of the most commonly encountered flies. These small worm like larvae are often found on dead carcasses and in the garbage. They are often regarded with disgust, but they actually play an important part in recycling certain waste products and have some very interesting uses. Continue reading to find out all about maggots!
Where do maggots come from?
Maggots are the juvenile form of flies, which means that a male and female fly must first breed. The female fly then lays about 500-2000 eggs (depending of the species)in a few batches. These eggs are usually laid on a food source, such as a dead carcass or in the garbage. The eggs hatch within a day and the maggots live and feed on the food source until they transform into pupae from which the adult fly emerges.
What do maggots look like?
Maggots are usually pale white, thin and about 3-9 mm (0.1 – 0.35 in) long. The following picture shows a group of maggots feeding on a dead carcass.
What do maggots eat?
Maggots eat the source of food that they hatch on. This is most commonly dead animal tissue, feces (poop), old food and similar organic material.
Uses of maggots
Surprisingly there are many uses of maggots and they have been used throughout history. One of the most common uses of maggots today is in the fishing industry where they are used as bait to catch a variety of fish and as chum to attract the fish to the area. They are one of the most popular baits in the United Kingdom.
Maggots have long been used to remove dead or damaged tissue from humans. The maggots feed only on the dead tissue and leave the live tissue unharmed. This process is known as maggot therapy and it is still used today in some cases.
Maggots are also used in the forensic science industry. They can be used for dating corpses and depending on the species and amount of maggots on the corpse the forensic scientist can determine the time of death.