Precocious egg development in wild Calliphora vicina (Diptera: Calliphoridae) - An issue of relevance in forensic entomology?

07:00 EST 22nd November 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Precocious egg development in wild Calliphora vicina (Diptera: Calliphoridae) - An issue of relevance in forensic entomology?"

The list of factors influencing the development of forensically important insects and the related effects on minimum post mortem (PMI) estimations is long and well established by various authors in forensic entomology over the last decades. Despite the fact that several authors mention precocious egg development, i.e. first instar larva in the genital tract of some species of Calliphoridae, as a potential error source for PMI estimations just two studies were performed to examine the occurrence of precocious eggs both in laboratory and field populations of blow flies. In the present study the occurrence of gravid females with precocious eggs in a wild population of Calliphora vicina in Frankfurt am Main was surveyed over 152 days and their seasonal distribution was analyzed as well as the influence of abiotic variables on their abundance. During the sampling occasions, 5.216 females were sampled of which 44 % were gravid. 54 % of all gravid females had a precocious egg/first instar larva in their genital tract. This number varied depending on the season and showed the highest amount in spring with almost 64 % of all gravid females. Hence, precocious eggs in wild populations of blow flies can occur much more frequently than mentioned in forensic literature. Consequences for the evaluation of entomological evidence in forensic casework should not be overrated since focusing alone on the largest larva in a sample is not recommended as the sole reference in an entomological PMI estimation. The entomological report has to justify its findings, discuss different options and finally state what is considered to be the most likely scenario based on the complete evidence (e.g. including all species and relevant age cohorts as well as succession data) and the case specific history.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Forensic science international
ISSN: 1872-6283
Pages: 110075


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

An order of the class Insecta. Wings, when present, number two and distinguish Diptera from other so-called flies, while the halteres, or reduced hindwings, separate Diptera from other insects with one pair of wings. The order includes the families Calliphoridae, Oestridae, Phoridae, Sarcophagidae, Scatophagidae, Sciaridae, SIMULIIDAE, Tabanidae, Therevidae, Trypetidae, CERATOPOGONIDAE; CHIRONOMIDAE; CULICIDAE; DROSOPHILIDAE; GLOSSINIDAE; MUSCIDAE; TEPHRITIDAE; and PSYCHODIDAE. The larval form of Diptera species are called maggots (see LARVA).

Animals considered to be wild or feral or not adapted for domestic use. It does not include wild animals in zoos for which ANIMALS, ZOO is available.

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An order of insects comprising the chewing lice or biting lice, many of which are parasitic on wild birds and domestic fowl and on wild and domestic mammals. Suborders include Amblycera and Ischnocera.

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