Seasonal and Geographic Variation in Biodiversity of Forensically Important Blow Flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) in New Jersey, USA
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Determining the time of colonization of human or other animal remains by blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) can play an important role in criminal investigations. However, blow fly presence in a given area is strongly influenced by abiotic and biotic variables such as temperature and habitat. We wanted to assess the biodiversity of adult blow flies in New Jersey, USA, where very little is known about these taxa. Toward that end we collected adult blow flies biweekly from traps baited with bovine liver and placed across three regions in New Jersey over a 2-yr period (2011-2013). We collected and identified 9,257 adult calliphorids, comprising six genera and 12 species. Blow fly assemblages composed of these species varied by season, but community composition did not vary among regions within a given season. Three species, Lucilia coeruleiviridis (Macquart), Lucilia sericata (Meigen), and Phormia regina (Meigen) comprised 88.5% of all adult blow flies collected (42.6, 25.9, 20.0%, respectively). Combining all regions, the dominant species for both spring and summer was L. coeruleiviridis comprising 35.1% of all adults caught in spring and 64.1% in summer. P. regina was the dominant species in fall, totaling 40.1% of all adults caught and Calliphora vicina (Robineau-Desvoidy) was the dominant species for winter, totaling 44.8% of all adults caught. Our findings provide the first assessment of blow fly communities in New Jersey, and these results can be applied to surrounding states where data are severely lacking for forensic application.
author list (cited authors)
Weidner, L. M., Jennings, D. E., Tomberlin, J. K., & Hamilton, G. C.