25 thoughts on “Life living on death

      1. Yes, you’re probably right, and thanks for pointing out that the lagomorph’s pose is derived from an old painting.

        I’ve changed it to “hare”.


          1. That has to be worth a beer for you then!
            😉 Never eaten one but have found dead ones out cycling & intended to get them on the way home but someone else had the same idea!

      1. Never in a million years. Those are carnivorous blowfly larvae. They don’t know about the sweet stuff.

        1. I had figured that the larvae obviously evolved as carnivores, but it was fascinating to watch them ignore other food, and, I imagine, is the point behind having the peach there in the first place. Thanks.

  1. Yup, this definitely needs to be accompanied by a Cannibal Corpse song, or the like.

    Biology may be beautiful to those who understand it, but to the average layman, this is rotting death, maggots, and nothing more.

  2. I was struck by the role of water in that process. By the end, the soft tissue of the hare isn’t completely gone, which would leave only the skeleton (and maybe some fur) – instead we see plenty of connective tissue, and the skeleton hasn’t been completely disarticulated (looks like the skull gets taken off, though). The remaining black tissue looks dessicated, to me, like the organisms that would degrade the most recalcitrant material need more moisture to do it.
    The first place I saw maggots was near the hare’s hips, on the ventral surface, held up above the table. I thought this indicated the maggots were avoiding the wettest parts, which would presumably be somewhere in the thoracic cavity with the hare in that position – do maggots drown in old blood inside animals?
    What happened around the 4-minute mark? The wall appeared to suddenly dry out – did a window get opened or something like that?
    It would be interesting to have a closer look at the peach – while the hare was clearly dealt with mainly by animals, the peach probably has a nice big fungus patch on it. I’m still a little surprised that the rich sugar source sitting there was ignored by the (apparently protein-focused) animals.

    1. Those were the questions I thought of while watching:

      >What happened to the wall?
      >How much time elapsed from beginning to end?
      >Surely something would have eaten the peach!

      1. It was hard to see because the time lapse between each frame was a bit long, but I think what was happening was that as the larvae traveled away from the corpse to pupate, they carried moisture with them, which colored the walls.

        you can see it as the numbers grow fewer… little tracks of moisture appearing and disappearing. Once there were few larvae left, there wasn’t enough moisture being tracked on the walls to keep them wet anymore, and they dried out.

  3. It is a wonderful video, I used it to show the idea of decompostion and nutrient cycling to one of my biology classes and they watched astounded in total silence for the whole thing. Quite a difference as these are serious rugby boys, not given to either art or biology appreciation as a gneral rule!

  4. Can’t see any more of the comments? I refresh the page and only the first 7 come up. Any ideas?

    1. It counts all the replies as comments as well even though they don’t get numbers, you are seeing all there is.

  5. I’m struggling to decide what the most disturbing part of that movie was. The speeded-up creepy maggot action? The spreading moisture stains on the walls? The fact that the peach still appears perfectly unscathed at the end of it? Just… yuck.

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