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A biological and procedural review of forensically significant Dermestes species (Coleoptera: Dermestidae)

Magni, P.A., Voss, S.C., Testi, R., Borrini, M. and Dadour, I.R. (2015) A biological and procedural review of forensically significant Dermestes species (Coleoptera: Dermestidae). Journal of Medical Entomology, 52 (5). pp. 755-769.

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The analyses of the insect species found on decomposing remains may provide useful information for the estimation of the minimum time elapsed since death and other parameters, such as causes and circumstances of death. The majority of research has focused on the early colonizing species, typically blowflies, while research concerning late colonizing insects is currently sparse. Dermestid beetles of the genus Dermestes L. (Coleoptera: Dermestidae) are one of the predominant insect species associated with decomposing remains during dry decay and skeletal stages of decomposition. In some dry environments, Dermestes species are likely to be the only necrophagous insects feeding on the decomposing remains. Furthermore, Dermestes species (immature and adults), their remains (cast skins and fecal material), and their artifacts (pupal chambers) are frequently found associated with ancient remains (e.g., mummies, fossils). Dermestes species have a worldwide distribution and are considered important in decomposition processes, forensic investigations, and economically as a known pest of stored products. Despite their recognized forensic importance, there is limited data documenting the ecology, biology, and the growth rates of the forensically relevant species. The aim of this review is to provide a comprehensive synopsis on the available literature concerning Dermestes species associated with forensic cases. In particular, aspects of colonization behavior, growth rates for forensic taxa and potential best practice guidelines for forensic casework encompassing late colonizing Dermestes species are discussed.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Entomological Society of America
Copyright: © The Authors 2015.
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