Histeridae

In very deep graves (90 cm), Gaudry et al. (2006) found Histeridae specimens (genus and species unknown). In shallow graves they identified Margarinotus car-bonarius (Hoffmann). At very shallow depth, they collected Margarinotus brun-neus (Fabricius) and M. ruficornis (Grimm). Vanlaerhoven and Anderson (1999) collected Hister depurator Say and other specimens (genus and species unknown). Lundt (1964) collected Histeridae specimens in shallow graves: Saprinus semistratus Scriba 2.5 cm underground and Hister cadaverinus Hoffmann at 10 cm depth - no Histeridae specimens have been collected in coffins.

Cleridae and Dermestidae families are rarely observed underground or in coffins. Champollion, a French Egyptologist, observed adults of Corynetes glabra Champollion, a species similar to Necrobia rufipes De Geer (Huchet 1996) between fingers of mummies.

13.5.7.1 Hymenopterans Found on Buried Corpses: Ants and Parasitic Wasps

The order Hymenoptera includes few species having a direct forensic importance. Being opportunists, they can either feed on the flesh of the corpse or be predators of immature stages of others insects (eggs, larvae). However, these Hymenopterans are not considered primary forensic indicators, unlike other species belonging to the same order.

Ants (Formicidae, Myrmicidae) are found during the entire decaying process and then regularly collected even in burial conditions (Bornemissza 1957; Vanlaerhoven and Anderson 1999). Motter observed Crematogaster lineolata Say, Aphenogaster sp. and Myrmycina latreilli André, monomorium minutum Mayer (Myrmicidae) but also Brachymyrmex heeri Forel , Lasius americanus Emery, L. flavius De Geer, Ponera contracta Latreille and Camponotus melleus Say (Formicidae). Payne et al. (1968) found Prenolepis imparis Say (Formicidae) at early stages of decay. Species of Formicidae (Anoplolepsis longipes) have already been studied to estimate a PMI on skeletal remains found in a metal toll in Hawaï by Goff and Bani (1997). Payne et al. (1968) observed that Prenolepis imparis Say (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) was predominant on buried pigs.

Parasitic wasps such as Nasonia vitripennis (Hymenoptera, Pteromalidae) are regularly found on buried carcasses (Vanlaerhoven and Anderson 1999). Lundt (1964) collected Braconidae and Proctotrupidae at 50 cm depth. Cynipids and Diaprides were also found by Payne et al. 1968 from 50 to 100 cm depth.

13.5.7.2 Other Insects Found on Buried Corpses: Collembola (Spring Tails)

Merritt et al. (2007) collected a species of Collembola (Sinella tenebricosa Folsom) from a casket containing a 28-year-old body that was exhumed. Collembola species had already been identified from exhumation (Motter 1898; Payne et al. 1968). In his paper, Meritt did not estimate a PMI by the case study but suggested a potential (forensic) utility of these specimens to confirm a post mortem transportation of the corpse during a given season thanks to the knowledge of specific findings linked to the season or specificity of a soil type.

13.5.7.3 Other Arthropods Found on Buried Corpses: Acari (Mites)

Insects as well as other arthropods are involved and collected during the decaying process of organic matter. Acari (Gamasidae) were collected by Motter (1898) or

Merritt et al. (2007) (Glycyphagidae) from buried cadavers in classical graves. Goff (1989) observed in Hawaii Island changes in the population of Acari that could be associated with post mortem intervals (if PMI > 17 days) considering four Gamasid families (Macrochelidae, Pachylaelapidae, Parasitae and Uropididae). Mégnin (1894) and Smith (1986) listed Acari in the sixth waves on exposed corpses, but provided no information about their presence on buried ones. Macrochelidae are phoretic on Nicrophorus species (Silphidae, Coleoptera). Disney (1994) summarized different phoretic mites on Scuttle fly (Phoridae), suggesting host specificity (to be confirmed by further studies).

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