1168 Larval movement within a maggot mass in reference to temperature

Tuesday, December 14, 2010: 4:35 PM
Royal Palm, Salon 5-6 (Town and Country Hotel and Convention Center)
Sonja Swiger , Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University, Stephenville, TX
Jerome A. Hogsette , CMAVE, USDA - ARS, Gainesville, FL
Jerry F. Butler , Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Developing calliphorid larvae feed collectively in groups referred to as maggot masses. A mass of maggots is more efficient than individual maggots at breaking down the decomposing tissue for consumption. Lacerating the tissue of the corpse with multiple mouth hooks and injecting salivary enzymes from thousands of larvae that ‘predigest’ the food and consume the semi-liquid material enables proficient tissue consumption. The maggot masses remain intact and move throughout the carcass as a unit. Within the maggot mass, larvae are believed to be in constant motion. Metabolic changes initiated by the larvae and anaerobic bacteria cause the internal temperatures of the carcass to rise. This internal temperature (maggot mass temperature) is capable of reaching unbearably high levels of heat that few organisms can withstand. A laboratory maggot mass was set up to further understand the behavior of the larvae and the function of heat production within the mass. It was hypothesized that the larvae are in constant motion within the mass moving from the inner most section of the mass, where the most heat is generated, to the outer edges of the mass to cool down. The objectives of this study are to create a maggot mass of Chrysomya rufifacies Macquart larvae in the laboratory that can be observed with videography and to analyze the behavior these larvae exhibit in reaction to artificially elevated temperature regimes produced by an electric heating element.lectric heating element.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.51558

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