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A maggot isolated from its substrate

A larva of the two-winged species , such as flies, is called maggot . It is distinguished from all other insect larvae by the complete lack of a head capsule and real limbs. Maggot-like, i.e. legless larvae also occur in many other holometabola orders, for example in bees , ants and longhorn beetles .

Some maggots, such as those of mosquitoes , have stub feet instead of missing legs with which they can push themselves over the ground. Other species living in the substrate have completely lost these organs of locomotion and move peristaltically . The mouthparts of these maggots are usually forceps-like mouth hooks that are located in the throat (cephalopharyngeal skeleton, with the pharyngeal ganglion ). The body is supported by a more or less firm outer cuticle . Maggots are often pointed at the front and particularly wide at the back.

Some two-winged birds, for example Brachycera , are very nimble in laying eggs ("throwing": see blowflies ) on carrion, in the household on meat or cheese, some give birth to maggots ( larviparia ) or pupae ( pupiparia ), which is why people used to prefer "evidence “ Saw for the constant possibility of spontaneous generation of organisms. Here there is also pedogenesis (e.g. with mushroom mosquitoes ) (maggots or pupae reproduce asexually, without the imaginal stage). From the maggots of the flies mostly barrel pupae develop (in the ground).

As an adaptation to different ecological requirements, the other characteristics of the maggots vary greatly. There are animals among them that live in the mud or water and have developed special breathing tubes (see dung bees ). The breathing tubes ( trachea ) run through the whole body and end at the back of the body. This allows these maggots to eat and breathe at the same time while they are upside down in the nutrients. The openings ( spiracles ) on the breathing tubes are provided with a special closing mechanism so that dirt and water cannot get into the tracheal system.

Other maggots have strong jaw hooks and, like cheese fly maggots and meat fly maggots, live as scavengers in rotting corpses or as parasites on or in living animals ( myiasis , botfly maggots ). Therefore, they can occasionally be used specifically in medicine (see maggot therapy ). Maggots (and similar larvae) are eaten (roasted) in many places; in Germany, at least earlier, they were used as fodder from sluts that were attached to fish ponds.

Sometimes maggots appear in large numbers, especially as a "maggot carpet". In these maggot carpets, the animals keep rubbing against each other, creating noticeable warmth on the one hand and audible noise on the other. The armyworm is a tight collection of jointly advancing fungus gnats larvae.

Maggots are also used to heal inflammation. In the case of chronic injuries in diabetics in particular , they can often clean wounds better and more quickly than conventional agents if inflammation occurs in areas with poor blood circulation, where antibiotics are inadequate.

Maggots are an essential food source for many animal species, such as titmice and woodpeckers .

Web links

Commons : Maggots  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Made  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Martina Lenzen-Schulte: wound care - the comeback of the maggots ., August 16, 2011