The most horrible video I’ve ever made

This will be popular, sure.

My compost bin is extraordinarily productive in producing maggots, which makes the spiders living in there very happy. The resolution here isn’t great — I used my el cheapo camera, since I was plunging it down in close to the writhing mass of larvae. If anyone insists, I suppose I could redo this with a reasonably good macro lens.

Everything is real time — no time-lapse. That’s how fast they move! Also, listen carefully and you can hear them eating. It sounds a bit like soggy rice krispies.

It’s only a minute long, so don’t worry, it ends quickly. If anyone also insists, I could record a much longer video.

No one will insist.

I know this will make some people queasy, so I’m hiding it below the fold.


  1. says

    Yup. Thems be maggots.
    I watched without sound, by the way. It’s possible I may want to eat Rice Krispies again in my lifetime.

  2. Artor says

    Let me share a story: When my son was an infant in diapers, I lived in the country with several indoor/outdoor cats. The cats were in the habit of finding little furry squeak toys and bringing them inside to play with until they stopped squeaking. There was a particularly plump chipmunk who came to play one day that ended up retiring right under my son’s crib. Of course, there was a diaper pail right there, so the increasingly foul odor was attributed to that, until it persisted even after the pail was emptied and cleaned, and the numerous well-fed flies banging on the windows finally offered a clue. I rolled the crib away to find a seething pile of maggots, with only barely recognizable patches of fur in the mix. My wife at the time ran to the bathroom retching, so I was the one left to deal with it. I used a dustpan as a scoop and picked up most of the pile in one scrape and ran outside to fling the contents far into the weeds across the road before returning to get the rest of the mess. In the 60 seconds I had been away, the remaining maggots had recognized the threat to their continuing banquet and headed for the hills. What had been a tightly confined pile was now a rapidly spreading zone of squirming maggots covering a yard of floor space and even climbing up the walls! I had to corral them with a broom and sweep them into the dustpan before any reached the ceiling and became head-dropping threats.

  3. robro says

    There seems to be the theme for the day: three posts related to the compost bin. As for this one, it makes me wonder if it might be similar to how an alien might view the earth.

  4. says

    I just dropped a reel on Instagram about how much it costs to get a vasectomy. $1000+ and was immediately accused of being ugly and gay. I am neither and if I was gay I 100% would not need a vasectomy. This is what I get for talking about this stuff online.

  5. zygoptera says

    PZ – Thanks for sharing the funny compost and skunk posts! You have a great way of telling stories.

  6. ealloc says

    The flies buzzed over that putrid stomach
    from which there emerged black battalions
    of larva, which poured like a thick liquid
    down the sides of those living rags

    The whole of it went down, went up like a wave
    or spittled out while bubbling
    one would have said that the corpse, inflated by a vague breath,
    lived as it multiplied.

    And this world produced a strange music,
    like running water and the wind,
    or the grain which a winnower in a rhythmic motion,
    stirs and turns in his fan.

    The shapes were erasing themselves and became no more than a dream,
    a sketch slow to come
    on a forgotten canvas, which the artist completes
    only in memory

    — And yet, you will resemble this refuse,
    this horrible infection,
    Star of my eyes, sun of my nature,
    You, my angel and my passion!

    Yes! That’s how you’ll be, O queen of graces,
    after the last sacraments,
    When you go, under the grasses and lush flowers,
    to molder amid the scattered bones

    (some stanzas from Baudelaire’s “A Carcass”, my translation)

  7. birgerjohansson says

    Robro @ 4
    …how an alien might regard the Earth.
    This might be related to all the rectal probing but I don’t want to elaborate on that chain of thought, apart from it all being gross.

  8. mcfrank0 says

    I watched this on YouTube before reading the article, and I was struck with by a thought “why metamorphosis?”. Or maybe the question might be “how did complex life cycles evolve?”. Or maybe even “how did maturation become different for other animals?”

    Obviously, I am not a biologist, but can someone point me in the right direction for further reading? I’m retired now and apparently the extra available mental bandwidth both gives me new insight for some things and gives me a literal sense of wonder for the previously unquestioned. And, no, this questioning was not chemically induced <grin<.