Document Type and Release Option
Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)
Dr. Edward B. Mondor
Forensic entomologists are often called upon to assist with law enforcement investigations. After 72 hours, insect evidence is the best method for determining the postmortem interval (PMI); the time elapsed from “death to discovery”. Here, I describe how the insects colonizing a human decedent were used to develop a PMI estimate for a homicide investigation. Using a dissecting microscope and dichotomous keys, it was determined that all specimens collected from the body were consistent with a single species, The Scuttle Fly, Megaselia scalaris Loew (Diptera: Phoridae). As the body was concealed, regression equations were developed to determine site-specific development temperatures for the insects on the body. On the basis of these temperatures, and previously determined rearing times for M. scalaris, the PMI was determined to be 8 days. In sum, insect development can be used as a “biological clock” providing key information in death investigations.
Burns, Taylor M., "Time of Death: Using Insects to Develop a Postmortem Interval Estimate" (2017). Honors College Theses. 263.
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