Not too long ago we received a picture and this message: “What is this creature? I found it in my house. It is approximately half an inch long.” The photo shows a cream-colored, segmented specimen in a petri dish. So, what did our reader discover in his house:
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We believe this rotund worm-like organism is some type of larvae. Based on its appearance, we think it is probably a maggot! Maggots are fly larvae, but not all fly larvae are called maggots. Don’t worry if you are confused by that statement, we will clarify: There are more than 120,000 species of flies in the world. Furthermore, approximately 98,000 species of these flies belong to the order Diptera. Some of the well-known members of this order are houseflies, mosquitos, gnats, and midge flies. While all of these are considered flies, not all of their larvae are considered maggots. For example, midge fly larvae are known as bloodworms. Maggots, on the other hand, are the larvae of houseflies! We believe this is what our reader discovered in his house.
Female adult houseflies typically lay their eggs in dark, damp places, like compost, manure, or rotting animal flesh. As soon as the eggs hatch, they begin to eat. The sole purpose of a maggot’s life is to eat and store energy in preparation for pupation. After 5 days, the maggots find a dark place to undergo pupation, which lasts 3-6 days. Finally they emerge as adult houseflies. Within 2 or 3 days, the females flies are capable of reproduction and the cycle begins again!
In conclusion, a reader sent us a photo of a small, white larva that we have identified as a housefly larva. Based on the bloated appearance of the maggot, we guess that it is nearing the end of its 5 day eating period, and will soon pupate and mature into an adult fly.
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