Environmental Factors Affecting Early Carcass Attendance by Four Species of Blow Flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) in Texas
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As the most common primary colonizer of carrion, adult blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) play an important role in initiating arthropod-mediated breakdown of soft tissue; however, their timing is highly variable. This variability complicates the estimation of precolonization intervals or periods of insect activity by forensic entomologists. In this study, the size of the adult blow fly on swine carcasses was compared with various environmental conditions including time of day, temperature, wind speed, and light levels. Four trials were conducted: two in August and September 2008, one in January 2009, and one in February-March 2010. Of the measured variables, time of day was the only consistent factor explaining the population size of blow fly on a carcass, although precipitation and high winds affected winter-active Calliphora vicina Robineau-Desvoidy. Male flies were also collected, suggesting that carcasses may play additional roles in adult blow fly ecology beyond that of a simple oviposition site. For both sexes of flies, a strong diel pattern of behavior emerged, which could be useful in estimating precolonization intervals by considering the environmental conditions at a scene, and thus forensic entomologists may be better able to estimate the likelihood of adult activity at a carcass.
author list (cited authors)
Mohr, R. M., & Tomberlin, J. K.