From death to dust – using insects to determine post mortem Intervals in Queensland, Australia.

Farrell, Julianne F., Whittington, Andrew E. and Zalucki, Myron P. (2015) From death to dust – using insects to determine post mortem Intervals in Queensland, Australia. In: 12th Meeting of the European Association for Forensic Entomology, 6th-9th May 2015, University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom. (Unpublished)

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Forensic entomology and necrophagous insect succession have been extensively studied in southern Australia, however long-term data describing insect taxa associated with decomposition are scarce in northern and sub-tropical Australia. A succession study of the invertebrates associated with carrion in south-east Queensland was conducted over two years to investigate seasonal and annual variation. Colonisation, successional patterns, species diversity, relative abundance of sarcosaprophagous insects, and their potential as forensic indicators were investigated. Data were collected from 64 pig carcases (Sus scrofa Linnaeus) decomposing in open grassland and timbered peri-urban habitats at a field site on the western Darling Downs. Caloglyphus berlesei (Acari) outnumbered all other necrophagous invertebrates, however the Calliphoridae and Sarcophagidae (Diptera) are the most useful forensic indicators in terms of specimens observed, collected and reared from the carcases. The primary colonisers of the carcases varied seasonally, and seven calliphorid (blow fly) and four sarcophagid (flesh fly) species were identified as forensically significant for the region. The most important calliphorids and sarcophagids from a forensic viewpoint were Calliphora augur, Calliphora stygia, Chrysomya megacephala, Sarcophaga impatiens, Sarcophaga aurifrons, Sarcophaga froggatti and Sarcophaga praedatrix because they indicated clear seasonal preferences and bred in the pig carrion. The suites of species occurring as primary and secondary invaders in Queensland are quite different to those recorded in southern and Western Australia. The implication is that succession data generated elsewhere in Australia could not be accurately used for post mortem interval estimations in Queensland. Comparative data were also collected on an opportunistic basis from road-kill, farmed livestock carcases in the region, and from human remains in the Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services mortuary in Brisbane. Results indicate similar succession patterns and dominant species over a range of vertebrate remains in south-east Queensland.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Additional Information: Link provided pertains to conference information. No manuscript is available.
Divisions: Business and Law
Depositing User: Ms Kerry Kellaway
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2019 11:45
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2020 15:25

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