Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Biology (B.S.B.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Edward B. Mondor


Blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) are usually the first insects to colonize human remains. By determining the time of colonization, a postmortem interval (PMI), or “time of death”, can be estimated. To develop more accurate PMI estimates, it is important for forensic entomologists to understand the cues that Blow flies use to locate vertebrate remains. The purpose of this study was to determine whether Blow flies use visual cues, in addition to olfactory cues, to locate carrion. Two colors of fly traps, clear and green, were constructed and chicken gizzard used as bait. Three Blow fly species exhibited a significant preference for clear traps over green traps. Although these results were unexpected, it provides clear evidence that multiple Blow fly species use visual cues to locate vertebrate remains.