Scientists wanted to know how maggots devour food so quickly, so they conducted an experiment. They fed 10,000 maggots a cheese pizza, which disappeared in 2 hours (but only about 30 seconds in this sped-up video) and noticed an interesting "fountain" pattern of movement amongst the fly larvae that allows them to burn through food at a fast clip. According to ScienceMag.org:
The team searched for patterns in the squirming mass by tracking the flow of individual maggots with software used to model the movement of fluids. Despite the appearance of chaos, the larvae moved like water being pumped through a fountain, the researchers report today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Hungry maggots pushed toward the food from the bottom, and satiated larvae were pumped up and over the top of the pile to the back of the line.
This fountain of larvae allows hungry grubs to replace the ones surrounding the food that have stopped feeding, which keeps the eating machine humming. The researchers say better understanding the process could help grub farming companies scale up and turn even more food waste back into food.