maggot: see blowfly; fly; larva.
Maggot is the common name of the larval phase of development in insects of the order Diptera (flies). Sometimes the word is used to denote the larval stage of any insect.

Maggot therapy

Main article: maggot therapy
Certain live maggots have been employed since antiquity as an economical, safe and effective type of wound debridement (cleaning). In controlled and sterile settings by licensed medical practitioners, maggot therapy (also known as Maggot Debridement Therapy (MDT), larval therapy, larva therapy, or larvae therapy) introduces live, disinfected maggots or fly larvae into non-healing skin or soft wounds of a human or other animal. Their beneficial effect is two-fold. They eat the dead tissue, leaving the live tissue alone, and at the same time excrete powerful antibiotics. An over-use of antibiotics has led to widespread tolerance, making maggot therapy attractive again. As of 2008, maggot therapy was being used in around 1000 medical centres in Europe and over 800 medical centres in the United States.

In the United States, Medical maggots are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as a prescription-only medical device. With acceptance of premarket notification 510(k) 033391 in January 2004, the Food and Drug Administration granted Dr. Ronald Sherman permission to produce and market maggots for use in humans or other animals as a prescription medical device for the following indications: "For debriding non-healing necrotic skin and soft tissue wounds, including pressure ulcers, venous stasis ulcers, neuropathic foot ulcers, and non-healing traumatic or post surgical wounds." Monarch Labs (located in Irvine, California) is the exclusive supplier of Medical maggots (disinfected Phaenicia sericata larvae) for maggot therapy in the United States. Medical maggots represent the first living organism ever allowed by the Food and Drug Administration for production and marketing as a prescription medical device.

There is a depiction of the ancient practice of maggot therapy in the 2000 film Gladiator. In this film directed by Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe's character, Maximus, a Roman general, suffers a deep laceration to his shoulder from a sword during a charge by a Praetorian guard on horseback while trying to escape his arrest. After being found and captured by slave traders, one of Maximus' fellow slaves, Juba, a Numidian hunter played by Djimon Hounsou, treats Maximus' infected shoulder wound by placing and leaving maggots on his open wound. Upon awakening and noticing the maggots on his gaping shoulder wound, Maximus tries to remove the maggots but Juba admonishes him to leave them there as they will "clean" his wound. Maximus, too weakened to protest, complies. Several days later, the wound is depicted as clean and healing and Juba proclaims his wound better. Maximus agrees with the sentiment and is otherwise restored to being a healthy, if somewhat laconic, disgruntled, fierce gladiator in a remote North African province. While the depiction of maggot therapy in the film Gladiator differs greatly from modern maggot therapy medical practice in not employing sterile maggots, special wound dressings, and being placed by a licensed medical practitioner, the cost-effective, safe and efficacious results of applying maggots to treat a severe wound in such a primitive setting are all hallmarks of modern maggot therapy.


As with fleas and ticks, maggots can be a threat to household pets and livestock, especially sheep. Flies reproduce rapidly in the summer months and maggots can come in large numbers, creating a maggot infestation and a high risk of myiasis in sheep and other animals. Humans are not immune to the feeding habits of maggots and can also contract myiasis. Interaction between humans and maggots usually occurs near garbage cans, dead animals, rotten food, and other breeding grounds for maggots. It may take 8–20 hours for maggots to grow.

A major problem also arises when maggots turn into flies and start the life cycle over again. Within a few generations the number of maggots grows exponentially and becomes a serious problem. Professionals can remove maggots or many over-the-counter bug sprays can be used to deter flies and maggots. Keeping trash in a sealed container and using a garbage disposal or freezing rotting leftovers until rubbish collection day helps prevent infestation.

Parasitic Maggots

While gigantic maggots only eat necrotic tissue in living animals and are thus arguably symbiotic, certain types of maggots are parasitic, such as Botfly larvae. These larvae spend part of their life cycle as parasites under the skin of living animals. As a result myiasis can occur in the host causing symptoms from sores and irritating lesions to death. This is particularly a problem in warm and damp climates where flies multiply more rapidly.



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