Tag Archives: Blow flies

March of the Zombie Flies

4 May
Decaying dead blow fly carcasses stuck to sand.


I don’t actually know what was going on with these creepy decayed blowfly carcasses.  If you haven’t noticed, that top one is missing its head and the bottom fly’s wings and eyes are flaking away.  I found these and a half dozen more stuck fast to a sandy overhang by the Red River this past Entoblitz.   It kind of looked like a still scene from Attack of the Zombie Flies.

Why were they congregated there?  What killed them?  Personally, I suspect a bacterial infection or pathogenic fungi.  Many such parasites can actually alter the behavior of their hosts, causing them to seek out situations and habitats that help the pathogen grow better or infect new hosts.  There’s even a little bit of evidence that pathogens may be able to manipulate human behavior: a few studies indicate that people infected with Toxoplasma gondii (often carried by cats) may be more risk-prone.  The protozoan parasite may alter the behavior of its intermediate rat host to increase the chances of predation by cats, allowing the parasite to complete its life cycle (Berdoy et al 2000).

So, anyway, I’m going to go with mind-controlling fungal infections on this one.

That, or aliens.

I don't know; therefore aliens


Maggot Art Live

24 Feb

Here’s a video I put together of the “maggot art” I talked about earlier this week.  Enjoy!


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.