Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Maggots
Name: Twyla D.
Status: student
Age: 18
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999-2001

When you die and begin to rot, maggots appear and aid in the process. Where do they come from? Do they form from within you? If not, how would you get them if you died in a room where there were no bugs? Do they form from bacteria?

Maggots are fly larvae and an adult fly must lay the eggs in the body.

J. Elliott

A little macabre, but maggots are the larva stage of flies. When you die and begin to rot (if you do) maggots are not a foregone result.

Vince Calder

Inless we believe in spontaneous generation which was disproved hundreds of years ago by Spallanzani...the maggots come from flies laying eggs on the corpse.

Peter Faletra Ph.D.
Office of Science
Department of Energy

Lovely topic!

Maggots are the larvae of flies. They will only appear in an object if a fly is able to lay its eggs there.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois

Maggot is a general term for the larval form of an insect. They appear 2-5 days after an adult insect lays its eggs. In the case of a deceased animal, flies are usually the source of maggots. The flies lay their eggs after being drawn to the smell of rotting flesh. The eggs hatch into maggots and they get their nutrients from eating the body. This also aids in decomposition. Actually there is a field of forensics called forensic entymology or solving crimes by observing the insects/larva on a body. Each insect has a specific life cycle and the time it takes for the larva to hatch can be diagnostic.


Click here to return to the Zoology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory