Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

The effect of submersion in different types of water on the survival and eclosion of blow-fly intra-puparial forms (Diptera: Calliphoridae)

Magni, P.A., Senigaglia, V., Robinson, S.C. and Dadour, I.R. (2021) The effect of submersion in different types of water on the survival and eclosion of blow-fly intra-puparial forms (Diptera: Calliphoridae). Forensic Science International, 319 . Art. 110663.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


Blow-fly (Diptera: Calliphoridae) immatures are the main colonizers of decomposing remains, and any information on what influences their growth and development are important to forensic entomologists when they are required to estimate post-mortem intervals during a death investigation. Much of this work has been qualified and quantified in terrestrial environments, but is deplete in aquatic environments. When considering a blow-fly's life history, the longest immature life stage goes from the formation of the puparium to adult emergence, and involves metamorphosis. In an aquatic scenario a corpse may be completely submerged, floating on the surface and or it could be associated with water but neither submerged or floating (e.g. beached on a seashore or washed up after a flood event). The present study concerns two blow-fly species, Lucilia sericata (Meigen) and Calliphora vomitoria (L.), and the effects of the age of the intra-puparial forms (“pupal age”) and resultant survival, when submerged in tap, river or salt water for varying times – up to 3 days. The experiment was conducted in two localities, L. sericata in Boston USA and C. vomitoria in Turin, Italy, and full puparia of both species were divided into 4 age cohorts (“white”, “young”, “medium”, and “old’) before submergence. L. sericata intra-puparial forms showed a three time greater survival rate compared to C. vomitoria intra-puparial forms when submerged in each of the three water types. Both species had the highest survival rate in tap water. Overall, younger and older intra-puparial forms showed a greater and significant survival rate than medium intra-puparial forms when submerged. The eclosion time following submersion of C. vomitoria and L. sericata was mainly influenced by both the age at which the intra-puparial forms were submerged, and by the type of water, but the duration of the submersion also influenced the eclosion time of L. sericata. These results are discussed considering blow-fly physiology. A deeper understanding of the dynamics of survival and growth rate of blow-fly intra-puparial forms on human remains that have undergone a period of submergence could assist in the estimation of the time of death in criminal cases connected to different aquatic environments.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2020 Published by Elsevier B.V.
Item Control Page Item Control Page