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Effect of cooling on different densities of larvae of Lucilia sericata (Meigen) (Diptera: Calliphoridae)

Magni, P.A. and Dadour, I. (2014) Effect of cooling on different densities of larvae of Lucilia sericata (Meigen) (Diptera: Calliphoridae). In: 11th Meeting European Association for Forensic Entomology (EAFE), 9 - 11 April 2014, Lille, France


Following a homicide the regulation of forensic practice in many countries prevents the pathologist performing an immediate autopsy. Preceding each autopsy the corpse and the insects associated with it are stored in a cool room in a mortuary (4°C) to slow down the decomposition process as well as the development of most of the necrophagous insects associated with the corpse. In late stages of decay, fly immatures may be present in masses. The aim of this research was to investigate the growth and development of different larval masses of the blowfly Lucilia sericata (Meigen) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) when stored in a cold environment (4°C). The experiments were divided into a number of trials comprising different storage conditions (continuous exposure or cyclic exposure) for immature stages (L2 and L3) and included four different densities of larvae (100, 500, 1000, 5000 larvae) each placed on 3kg of liver. L. sericata adults were first established in colony and allowed to complete one generation prior to each experiment. Results show that if the larval mass has a density between 1000 and 5000 larvae and have already reached the third instar, then there is no influence on the development time of larvae. Therefore, the identification of the size of the larval mass as well as the instar of the larvae present are crucial data for any subsequent determination of a correct Post Mortem Interval.

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