The bases for forensic entomology are that insects and their arthropod relatives can serve as evidence in criminal, medical and civil legal matters. However, some of the very same species that provide utility to legal investigations can also complicate crime scenes by distorting existing body fluid evidence (e.g., bloodstains, semen, saliva) and/or depositing artifacts derived from the insect alimentary canal at primary or secondary crime scenes. The insect contaminants are referred to as insect stains, artifacts, specks or spots, and are most commonly associated with human bloodstains. This review will discuss the different types of insect artifacts that have been described from crime scenes and laboratory experiments, as well as examine insect contaminates (non-blood based artifacts, transfer patterns, meconium, and larval fluids) that have received little research or case attention. Methods currently used for distinguishing insect stains from human body fluids will also be discussed and compared to presumptive tests used for identification of human body fluids. Since all available methods have severe limitations, areas of new research will be identified for the purpose of development of diagnostic techniques for detection of insect artifacts.
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