Author(s): Clark K, Evans L, Wall R
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Abstract Estimates of post-mortem interval based on forensic analysis of the age of blowfly larvae on a corpse, are generated from standardised larval development curves. These are derived from studies of the growth of larvae reared, usually, on liver and at a range of temperatures. However, it is possible that the species or organ on which the larvae feed, might significantly alter the rate of growth. The present study therefore compared the development of the blowfly Lucilia sericata (Meigen) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) fed on lung, liver and heart, from both cows and pigs. Half of the tissue samples used were liquidised while half were not, to assess whether structural differences in the food source were important. Larvae grew significantly faster and gave rise to larger adults when reared on pig compared to cow tissue and when reared on lung and heart compared to liver. Larvae completed feeding and wandered from the food source 31h earlier and grew 2mm longer when reared on lung compared to liver. Tissue structure had no or little effect on development. For the forensic entomologist, these results highlight the importance of recording the position of larvae removed from a body and the care that should be used when extrapolating development rates from standard curves based on larvae fed on only a single medium, particularly where that is liver.
This article was published in Forensic Sci Int
and referenced in Journal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy