I was reading this site which broached comedones, an esoteric word to me; so I thought to look up its etymology which I find exceptionally singular and peculiar (I would have never guessed that the word originated from to eat up !) :

Etmyonline: "blackhead," etc., 1866, from Latin comedo "glutton," from comedere "to eat up" (see comestible). A name formerly given to worms that devour the body; transferred in medical use to secretions that resemble them.

Footnote: ODO also offers an etymology.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ How the body is degraded depends entirely on the manner of body preparation and burial. $\endgroup$ Mar 5 '15 at 22:31
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ And the "worms" most likely to eat a corpse are probably maggots. $\endgroup$
    – user137
    Mar 5 '15 at 22:35
  • $\begingroup$ Maggots that typically feed on the carrion can be from different flies species, the most common in Europe are from the family of Calliphoridae and Sarcophagidae. $\endgroup$ Oct 18 '17 at 17:01

A maggot typically feeds on carrion. A maggot is the larva of a fly and usually particular to the larvae of Brachyceran flies, such as houseflies, cheese flies, and blowflies. maggot

Interestingly decomposition from maggots has a lot of use in forensic science as the presence or development of maggots on a corpse can be useful to a forensic entomologists to determine the approximate time of death. Depending on the species and the conditions, maggots may be observed on a body within 24 hours. The eggs are laid on the body and when the eggs hatch, the maggots move towards their preferred conditions and begin to feed. Insects are usually useful 25–80 hours post mortem and is contingent on temp humidity and oxygen availability. After 80 hours, this method becomes less reliable.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.