Introduction

It is not surprising with the great diversity of arthropods that some members have evolved to take advantage of the sheltered habitat that we provide or to take advantage of us and our products. Anthropophilic arthropods like cockroaches (Blattodea), silverfish (Thysanura), house flies (Diptera) and house and dust mites (Acari) have moved their habitat inside human dwellings to become part of the human biocenose. These arthropods, however, do not directly depend on humans. Synanthropic insects like filth flies, biting midges, no-see-ums, punkies, mosquitoes (Diptera) feed off humans directly through blood sucking or off excrements and garbage produced by humans. Some of these insects have adopted an endophilic lifestyle entering our homes to feed and rest. Like some stored product pests, some of the hematophagous insect species have lost their natural or peridomestic habitat and have become entirely dependant on domestic harbourage and humans. Forensic implications can be found in any area of entomology or acarology associated with human habitation. Forensic entomology is receiving much attention (Byrd and Castner 2010; Erzinglioglu 2002; Gennard 2007; Goff 2001; Greenberg and Kunich 2005; Gunn 2009; Hall and Huntington (2010); Hall and Haskell 1995). It is often dominated by the medicolegal or medicocriminal aspect investigating human decomposition. It also covers situations such as child neglect, child abuse and neglect of the elderly, events that normally occur indoors but that are covered elsewhere in the book and by Benecke et al. 2004. Forensic entomology encompasses as well situations that involve urban, structural and stored products entomology. Unusual cases as that of a container of materials shipped to the Antartic catch the attention. The presence of

Bangor University, School of Biological Sciences, Bangor, Wales, UK J. Amendt

Institute of Forensic Medicine, Frankfurt am Main, Germany M.A. Perotti

University of Reading, School of Biological Sciences, England, UK

J. Amendt et al. (eds.), Current Concepts in Forensic Entomology, 93

DOI 10.1007/978-1-4020-9684-6_6, © Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2010

only second instar larvae and subsequent stages of the scuttle fly Megaselia scalaris revealed that the contamination of chicken eggs in the container occurred in Australia and not during transit in South Africa (Nickolls and Disney 2001). Hall and Huntington have beautifully illustrated that forensic entomology can even reach out to the world of musea, ancient Mexican ceramics and figurines (Hall and Huntington 2010; Pickering et al. 1998), and the use of necrophagous insects in archaeology is accepted as a helpful tool (Panagiotakopulu 2004; Nystrom et al. 2005).

In this chapter insects associated with indoor decomposition of human remains are reviewed. The closer association of indoor arthropods with living humans highlights a greater potential of indoor arthropods as forensic evidence in itself. This is underpinned by the huge diversity of mite species associated with human habitation.

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