What was this monstrous thing I put up this morning?
It’s the larva of a bluebottle fly (Calliphora vomitoria), of course. You didn’t know that???
Normally, adults lay eggs in carcasses, and the larvae develop on the rotting flesh. They aren’t like blowflies that burrow in and grow on living flesh. But as the note below says, their penchant for dead flesh makes them medically useful. What a clever way to take advantage of an evolved feature!
This photo appeared in the Torygraph (h/t to reader pyers), with this note:
A coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the head of a maggot or the larva of a bluebottle fly (Protophormia sp.) with tiny teeth-like fangs extending from its mouth. The maggots of this fly are used medicinally to clean wounds. The maggots are sterilised and placed in the wound, where they feed on dead tissue and leave healthy tissue untouched. Their saliva contains anti- bacterial chemicals which maintain sterility in the area. Maggots are used on ulcers and deep wounds away from organs or body cavities, most often being used to treat diabetic ulcers on the feet
Picture: EYE OF SCIENCE / SPL / BARCROFT MEDIA
Be sure to look at the other photos in that Torygraph gallery of insects and spiders.