Ecology of skin hide and larder beetles Dermestidae

Several species of dermestid beetles have been shown to colonize a dead body. These include Dermestes ater DeGeer, Dermestes maculatus, Dermestes lardarius and Dermestes frischii (Kugelann) (Centeno etal., 2002). Dermestes maculatus will be used as an example of the response of dermestids to a corpse, since this species is well researched because of its role as a stored product pest. Dermestes maculatus growth from egg to adult can take 20-45 days, although the speed of development depends on...

Accumulated degree data

Time(hours) x (temperature base temperature) ADH Time(days) x (temperature base temperature) ADD Figure 7.3 Graph to show the justification for using accumulation of averaged temperatures over time. The method assumes a straight line relationship between the chosen periods of time, on the basis of averaging the temperature over the time period. The assumption is that overestimates at one point (A) are compensated for by underestimates at another point (B) within that same time period. Hence,...

Categories of feeding relationship on a corpse

Four main categories of feeding relationship have been described (Campobasso Necrophages, which feed only on the decomposing tissue of the body or body parts, e.g. Nitidulidae and Dermestidae. Predators (and parasites) of the necrophages, e.g. Staphylinidae. Omnivores, which consume both the live specimens inhabiting the corpse and the dead flesh, e.g. ants (Formicidae). Opportunist species (adventitious), which arrive because the corpse is a part of their local environment, e.g. mites (Acari),...

Greenbottles Lucilia spp

In Britain there are seven species of greenbottle. These are Lucilia (Phaenicia) sericata, Lucilia caesar, Lucilia illustris Meigen, Lucilia richardsi, Lucilia silvarum Meigen, Lucilia ampullacea Villeneuve and Lucilia bufonivora Moniez. Smith (1986) records only four of them, Lucilia ampullacea, Lucilia illustris, Lucilia caesar and Lucilia sericata, from dead bodies in the UK. They vary in their choice of habitat. Lucilia species are amongst the first wave of blowflies to colonize a body....

Insect larvae a resource for investigating drug consumption

The insect life cycle stage that feeds on the cadaver is a potential reservoir of undigested flesh from the corpse. Because, in some circumstances, the flesh from the corpse can retain some types of drugs that had been consumed by the victim before he she died and which may even have been the cause of death, these drugs may be recovered by analysing the insects and may include opiates (Introna etal., 1990), the barbiturate phenobarbital, benzodiazepines or their metabolites, such as oxazepam,...

History of forensic entomology

Insects are known to have been used in the detection of crimes for a long time and a number of researchers have written about the history of forensic entomology (Benecke, 2001 Greenberg and Kunich, 2002). The Chinese used the presence of flies and other insects as part of their investigative armoury for crime scene investigation and instances of their use are recorded as early as the mid-tenth century (Cheng, 1890 cited in Greenberg and Kunich, 2002). Indeed, such was the importance of insects...

Calculation of accumulated degree hours or days from crime scene data

7.3.1 How to obtain corrected crime scene temperatures Corrected data for the crime scene before the body was found come from comparing temperatures from the local meteorological station with those for the crime scene, once the body has been discovered. A scatter diagram is plotted of the meteorological temperatures (x axis) against the crime scene temperatures (y axis) recorded for 3-5 days after the body was discovered. A regression equation is calculated. This equation is then used to...

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to the following for permission to reproduce illustrations, or quote from publications The Amateur Entomologists' Society, for permission to quote from Dear J. P. Carrion 1978 . In Stubbs A. and Chandler P. A Dipterist's Handbook. The Amateur Entomologist 15. The Amateur Entomologists' Society London 1978 . Dr Mark Benecke, for providing a copy of his RAPD profile of Oiceophoma thoracicum L. and Calliphora vicina Robineau-Desvoidy . Professor Michael Claridge, the Royal...

Calliphoridae

The particular species of fly which are forensically important will differ from location to location. The first three species listed below are common initial colonizers of corpses in Europe, including Britain, which are not buried or in some way 'modified'. For example, Schroeder etal. 2003 consider Calliphora vicina, Calliphora vomitoria and Lucilia sericata to be the most common species found on corpses in Germany. Calliphora vicina Robineau-Desvoidy This is a large blowfly, 9-11 mm in...

Stages of decomposition of a body

The stages of decomposition of a body have been a topic of interest for both artists and scientists over a long period of time Figures 1.1-1.8 . There are three recognizable processes in corpse decomposition. These are autolysis, putrefaction and skeletal bone decomposition diagenesis . In autolysis, a process of natural breakdown, the cells of the body are digested by enzymes, including lipases, proteases and carbohydrases. This process can be most rapid in organs such as the brain and liver...