An initial study on the succession of sarcosaprophagous diptera (insecta) on carrion in the southeastern iberian peninsula

  • Arnaldos I
  • Romera E
  • García M
 et al. 
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Abstract

Samples were taken daily during the first 2 weeks in or-der to collect the main sarcosaprophagous fauna related to post-mortem interval (PMI) determination. After this time, samples were taken every other day or slightly longer until the end of the experiment. Data obtained have been standardized in order to be shown graphically. We have only taken muscoid Diptera into account because some of the species are the first to arrive on the corpses and appear in a sequential appearance and, as Braack [4] stated, the presence of blowflies is of great importance in the corpse-insects complex and a crucial determinant of the structure of the community. Knowledge of this succession is important in order to estimate the time after death and sometimes the cause of death in medico-legal investigations. The specimens studied are now kept in the entomo-logical collection of the Animal Biology Department of the Uni-versity of Murcia. Results The community of Diptera considered, which represents 41.51% of the fauna collected, is composed of 11 taxa and grouped into the 4 families (Fig. 2) Calliphoridae (69.4%), Muscidae (16.9%), Sarcophagidae (7.3%) and Fannidae (6.3%). All were identified at least to the generic level ex-cept for Sarcophagidae, which were determined only to the family level because of difficulties in identification, especially of the females, and because the classification is currently under revision in the Iberian peninsula. During spring (Figs. 3, 4) nine taxa were recorded, of which Phaenicia sericata was predominant and arrived in massive numbers on the corpses during the first 4 days. Adults were seen and collected for the first 8 days and then disappeared. P. sericata breeds successfully on the corpse as was proven by the emergence of new adults from day 18 onwards from the eggs laid by the first adults. While the first adult population was composed mainly of females (95.7%), the second population showed a male-female ratio of 53.46:46.54. Stage II larvae of Phaenicia sericata were detected in the trap on days 3 and 4. A number of post-feeding larvae were collected between days 3 and 12, mainly on day 8 and afterwards. The migrating post-feeding larvae provoked a strong change in the internal conditions of the corpse, and a sharp decrease in the number of Dipteran taxa present in the corpse was observed from this time on-wards. Calliphora vicina was much less abundant than Phaenicia sericata, and showed a known preference for cool conditions. It also acted as a primary fly, appearing from days 1 to 7 and post-feeding larvae appeared sud-denly on day 6, although they could be collected until day 12. Nevertheless, breeding was not successful and no adult of a new generation was collected. Only Muscina stabulans, which acted as a secondary fly, and Sarcophagidae were present throughout the de-composition process. In summer nine taxa were collected (Figs. 5, 6) includ-ing Phaenicia sericata which also acted as a primary fly, as did Calliphora vicina, the appearance of which was counted as almost accidental due to the sparse specimens

Author-supplied keywords

  • Forensic entomology
  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Sarcosaprophagous Diptera

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