COOL MAGGOT FACTS:
1) Under normal conditions, fly maggots are always what eliminates most of an animal carcass on land. The recognized stages of decomposition are dependent on their presence.
2) Many humans find everything about a maggot abhorrent, but it wouldn’t be such an efficient scavenger if it differed in any way. They are pure utility, stripped down to the bare minimal anatomy for scavenging!
3) Blowfly maggots can technically be considered “aquatic,” as they will spend most of their life submerged head-down in the fluids of decaying meat. Like water-dwelling insects, they breathe by “snorkeling” through pores near their anus!
4) Maggots have a pair of tusk-like hooks to help get a grip on rotting tissues, but no means of biting or chewing. Like adult flies, they secrete a digestive enzyme and suck up the liquefied food.
5) Maggots actually greatly reduce bacterial levels around them, as they are competing with the microbes for food.
6) Most insects still have six true legs even as larvae, sometimes just greatly reduced. Not so for fly maggots, who lack even an internal trace of appendages.
7) Not only do they lack jaws or limbs, but fly maggots are among the only insect larvae without “head cases.” Other insect larvae have fully developed heads and jaws, protected by a skull-like exoskeleton similar to the head of an adult insect. Except for its hooks or barbs, a maggot is squishy and naked from end to end!
8) Maggots function like organic drills. Cone shaped, with the mouth at the small end, their undulations work them corkscrew-like into meat.
I’ve posted this photo before and I’ll probably post it again. It was the first time I ever got to see what a maggot’s face actually LOOKS like, and I fell in love instantly. I mean, I already liked maggots, but that was before I knew they were hot-dog walrus puppet monsters in parkas. That’s also a bacterium hanging out in the upper middle - the entire maggot head that we’re seeing here is barely visible to the naked eye.