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Insect succession pattern on decomposing swine carcasses in Tasmania: A summer study

Magni, P.A., North, J.D., Zwerver, M. and Dadour, I.R. (2019) Insect succession pattern on decomposing swine carcasses in Tasmania: A summer study. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 153 . pp. 31-38.

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Insect succession has been studied around the world using the predictable and mostly sequential arrival pattern of different insect species that are attracted to a decomposing carcass. In cases of suspicious death of humans and animals, carrion insects may be used to assist in crime scene reconstruction. The present research represents the first study in forensic entomology to be undertaken in Tasmania, investigating insect succession patterns on decomposing pig carcasses and providing a preliminary database of forensically important insects. Six pig carcasses were placed in two contrasting locations (rural and urban) in northern Tasmania. Insect successional waves were recorded over a 40-day study during the austral summer season. Results showed that decomposition rates and insect assemblages varied between each location. Eleven insect taxa, representing nine families, were identified in association with the decomposition of the pig carcasses at both localities. Blowflies present on the pig carcasses throughout the decomposition process were Calliphora stygia Malloch (Diptera: Calliphoridae) at both sites and Lucilia sericata (Meigen) at the urban site only. These preliminary results will provide useful information in any future casework involving human remains and associated insect material in Tasmania.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Publisher: The Royal Society of Tasmania
Copyright: © 2019 The Royal Society of Tasmania
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