Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Maggot Therapy

  • Susan V. Gruner
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_1682
Maggot therapy, or maggot debridement therapy, is the medicinal use (biotherapy) of live fly larvae (maggots) for cleaning non-healing wounds and osteomyelitis (bone infection). Maggots debride, or clean, wounds by eating necrotic (dead) tissue. They secrete therapeutic chemicals such as ammonia and calcium carbonate, which disinfect wounds and promote healing. Only larvae that eat dead tissue (usually calliphorids from the genus Lucilia) can be used for medicinal purposes (Table 1). Obviously they must display no invasive behavior to living tissue.
Maggot Therapy, Table 1

The species of flies used in maggot therapy (adapted from Sherman et al. 2000)





Calliphora vicina


Chrysomya rufifacies


Lucilia caesar


Lucilia cuprina


Lucilia illustris


Lucilia sericata


Phormia regina


Protophormia terraenovae



Wohlfahrtia nuba



Musca domestica

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan V. Gruner
    • 1
  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA