Species identification is the primary step in forensic entomology for obtaining information that is valuable for the development or conclusion of an investigative proceeding. Since insects exhibit distinct growth rates and biological characteristics, a clear differentiation is essential. However, there are some obstacles for clear differentiation between insects, such as availability of only a scant number of specialists and few taxonomic keys that include a limited number of species, particularly Neotropical insects. These species exhibit external morphologic characters, which are highly variable or very homogeneous, thus restricting species identification, almost exclusively, to detailed analyses of the male genitalia. Consequently, identification of closely related species and/or females, found frequently associated with corpses looking for breeding sites, has become limited. Similar issues occur with their immature stages, which are not identified routinely because of minuscule morphological differences among the species, low number of descriptions, and absence of keys. Thus, molecular approaches that enable species-specific identification are gaining importance as useful methodologies for this purpose.
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Last date updated on July, 2014