Maggots and Fungi: A Tale of Quarantine time Exploration

Sitting at home has given us a fresh opportunity to look at our homes with a different lens. While rummaging through my garden, I found that my mother had tried to plant a tomato plant in a pot.

the rotting tomato pulp; black algae can be seen surrounding it

The tomato pulp present in the pot was undergoing decay and dessication by fungi, and insect larvae (maggots).

So naturally out of curiosity I carefully collected the samples and made slides, observing them through the foldscope.

The first sample I took was of the fungi. I could see the hyphae- which are thread like filaments which are constitutive of the fungi itself. These are branched and intertwined to allow maximum area for growth and saprophytic action. These hyphae form the mycelium which is the vegetative part of the fungi.

Throughout the slide I could see abundant and very small particles, which are the spores

Furthermore, at the end of the hyphae,I could observe the source of these spores: the fruiting body (sporocarp) from where the spores are released.

These spores fly distances and land on surfaces. Whe suitable conditions for growth of fungi are found, I.E. warm and moist with availability of organic matter, these spores germinate to form a new network of fungi.

Along with the fungi which are saprophytic, another type of organism that I found was very small maggots/ insect larvae.

You can see one of them which I picked up on a needle:

I carefully used the silicon well slide to form a slide of this tiny creature.

The posterior end of the larva. We can see the tomato pulp it has consumed.

The anterior portion
Anterior portion
We can see the structure of the ‘mouth’

In the video, we can see the internal movements inside the larva.

This video below shows the different structures of larva.

In the video below, I tried to use a yellow filter (more about this in an upcoming post) to observe the larva eating. We can see that quite clearly.

One problem that I had while observing the larva was focussing the slide. I think because the larva has sort of a dimension of depth, therefore it wouldn’t be easy to have all portions of the slide focussed at the same time.

Well, in this time let us show solidarity, and practice self isolation. The practice of staying home can certainly be seen as an opportunity to look for things around your own home and explore them.

Manan Suri

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Mitali says:

    Hi Manan!
    Look at the third video carefully, at 0.04 you can actually see the larva gulp down little of something!
    That is so cool!!

    1. MananSuri says:

      Thank you so much for your appreciation!
      When I saw it I had the same reaction. What perplexes me is I am not sure what it gulped down, because the slide was empty otherwise.

Leave a Reply