Maggot art, etc.

20 Feb

Maggot art with Chrysoma rufifacies, the hairy maggot blow fly

Two new pages up today in the Techniques section.

I’ve started a collection of cool insect-related techniques as I happen across them around the internet:

Techniques from Around the Web

I also had a lot of fun doing maggot artwork at an outreach event and I put together a “how to” post on that.  Check it out!  The pics are all taken with my iPhone but they turned out great:

How to Paint with Maggots

Maggot art makes a nice item to sell or give away at events, and it also provides a fun, hands-on outreach opportunity that people of all ages can enjoy. It’s great to watch people go from “Ew!” to “Ooh!” as they see a disfavored insect make something pretty and interesting. Don’t forget to talk to people about the role of maggots in the ecosystem, the life cycle of flies, and the usefulness of maggots in cleaning wounds. The maggot artwork also makes for a nice souvenir to take home, and hopefully encourage people to talk about what they learned with even more people.

6 Responses to “Maggot art, etc.”

  1. Sheldon February 20, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    Guess what! You do not have a post on “How to paint with maggots.”! Perhaps you think you do. You do not!

    • 6legs2many February 20, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      Oops, thanks! I’ve fixed the link.

  2. Barbara Kelly February 22, 2012 at 3:41 am #

    This is totally disgusting that you are killing living creatures for you “ART!” Poor choice for someone who MIGHT be gifted, but has to use others to succeed.

    • 6legs2many February 22, 2012 at 8:56 am #

      Hey Barbara,
      We very definitely didn’t kill any maggots for this. They are doing fine! We use non-toxic paint and carefully rinse each maggot by hand, as the only troubling part for them would be if the paint dried. They even got a treat for their hard work–some extra cow liver and a bigger jar. Maggots are actually surprisingly well adapted for this. They often feed mostly submerged in dead flesh, and have special breathing apparatus for this. If you look at some of the pictures you may be able to see their “snorkel” or breathing tube–it’s the dark spot at the end of their abdomen. They can even survive completely submerged for two hours! I do have one bit of potentially sad news. When they get to be very old flies at the end of their life cycle, these blow flies are used as feeders for spiders. Yum yum!
      Your concern for “creepy” maggots is an indicator of a true bug lover, though! I am right there with you.

  3. Sheldon February 22, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    ‘sawright. The post was worth the wait.


  1. Improbable Research » Blog Archive » Progress in academic maggot painting (part 1 of 3) - March 14, 2013

    […] in (non-toxic) paint. The video above shows how the technique works. Alison has also created a web-based resource explaining the process and outlining its raison […]

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