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Insects associated with human cadavers collected from mortuaries: the Rome and Turin experience

Magni, P.A., Bertoni, M. and Aromatario, M. (2009) Insects associated with human cadavers collected from mortuaries: the Rome and Turin experience. In: 7th Meeting European Association for Forensic Entomology (EAFE), 9 - 12 June 2009, Uppsala, Sweden.


The utility and the application of forensic entomology in crime scenes is based on the knowledge of the entomofauna at the specific locality where the crime took place. Literature and experience all over the world agree about the utility of experiments on animal carcasses in different environments as models for human decomposition. In some countries such as Italy field experiments using animals in most cases is not possible, because it is either too expensive or there are too many bureaucratic problems especially those associated with obtaining health permits. This is unfortunate as Italy is a country with many different environments and to gain an insight into the carrion entomofauna at any location requires numerous field experiments. An alternate way to collect this data would be to document the entomofauna on human corpses that are processed in mortuaries all over the country. This ongoing collection process is being carried out in the cities of Rome (Central of Italy) and Turin (North-West of Italy). In Rome the mortuary of the University “Sapienza” covers only a part of the city, but over the last 2 years 20 cases have been processed and now for the first time we have some preliminary data about the carrion insects in Rome and its surrounding area. In Turin the Forensic Entomology Lab takes place in the biggest mortuary of North West of Italy which covers the city. Over the years data from approximately 50 cases have been processed over all seasons. If all mortuaries and pathologists participated in this simple collecting process then much more entomological evidence will become available and increase the knowledge base of insects attending crime scenes.

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