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Insect fauna used to estimate the post-mortem interval of deceased persons

Insect fauna used to estimate the post-mortem interval of deceased persons

General and Applied Entomology30: 31-39

The insects collected by police at the crime scene or by pathologists at post-mortem from the bodies of 132 deceased persons and presented for comment are reported. The samples were submitted with the hope of obtaining an estimate of the most likely post-mortem interval (PMI) to assist police investigations. Calliphoridae, particularly Calliphora augur, C. stygia, Chrysomya rufifacies and Ch. varipes, Muscidae, particularly Hydrotaea rostrata, Sarcophagidae and Phoridae were the most represented Diptera. Beetles belonging to the Staphylinidae, Histeridae, Dermestidae, Silphidae and Cleridae were collected in a small proportion of cases. The absence of species succession during winter confounded estimates of PMI. Confidence in PMI estimates would increase with greater knowledge of the larval growth rates of common blowfly species, seasonal effects on growth rates and blowfly activity, differences between insects infesting bodies located inside verses outside buildings and significance of inner city sites compared to bushland locations. Further research to address deficiencies in knowledge of these subjects is needed.

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