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Insects 2017, 8(2), 40; doi:10.3390/insects8020040

Post-Colonization Interval Estimates Using Multi-Species Calliphoridae Larval Masses and Spatially Distinct Temperature Data Sets: A Case Study

1
Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, 243 Natural Science Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
2
Department of Entomology, Purdue University, 901 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
3
Department of Osteopathic Medical Specialties, Michigan State University, 243 Natural Science Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
4
Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior, Michigan State University, 243 Natural Science Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: David Rivers and John R. Wallace
Received: 15 February 2017 / Revised: 22 March 2017 / Accepted: 29 March 2017 / Published: 4 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Forensic Entomology)
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Abstract

Common forensic entomology practice has been to collect the largest Diptera larvae from a scene and use published developmental data, with temperature data from the nearest weather station, to estimate larval development time and post-colonization intervals (PCIs). To evaluate the accuracy of PCI estimates among Calliphoridae species and spatially distinct temperature sources, larval communities and ambient air temperature were collected at replicate swine carcasses (N = 6) throughout decomposition. Expected accumulated degree hours (ADH) associated with Cochliomyia macellaria and Phormia regina third instars (presence and length) were calculated using published developmental data sets. Actual ADH ranges were calculated using temperatures recorded from multiple sources at varying distances (0.90 m–7.61 km) from the study carcasses: individual temperature loggers at each carcass, a local weather station, and a regional weather station. Third instars greatly varied in length and abundance. The expected ADH range for each species successfully encompassed the average actual ADH for each temperature source, but overall under-represented the range. For both calliphorid species, weather station data were associated with more accurate PCI estimates than temperature loggers associated with each carcass. These results provide an important step towards improving entomological evidence collection and analysis techniques, and developing forensic error rates. View Full-Text
Keywords: forensic entomology; decomposition; variability; necrobiome; post-mortem interval; Phormia regina; Cochliomyia macellaria forensic entomology; decomposition; variability; necrobiome; post-mortem interval; Phormia regina; Cochliomyia macellaria
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Weatherbee, C.R.; Pechal, J.L.; Stamper, T.; Benbow, M.E. Post-Colonization Interval Estimates Using Multi-Species Calliphoridae Larval Masses and Spatially Distinct Temperature Data Sets: A Case Study. Insects 2017, 8, 40.

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