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Title: Development of blowflies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) on pig and human cadavers : implications for forensic entomology casework
Author: Whitaker, Amoret
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 159X
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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Laboratory studies conducted on developing blowfly larvae (Diptera: Calliphoridae) showed that even small numbers of larvae resulted in an increase in temperature above ambient, and that they were able to retain heat when exposed to a lower ambient temperature. The increase in larval mass temperatures was also demonstrated in decomposition studies carried out on still-born piglets in London, where Calliphora vicina was dominant in an urban environment, and Lucilia sericata in a rural environment. Oviposition on indoor piglets was not always delayed, but may instead be delayed on outdoor cadavers if the ambient temperature is low. Decomposition studies were also carried out in Knoxville, Tennessee, on donated human cadavers. A body laid out on the ground attracted communal oviposition and larval mass temperatures up to 45°C. In contrast, a body placed in an unsealed plastic bin resulted in a delay in colonisation of seven days, with Phorids being the first flies to inhabit the cadaver, and blowfly oviposition delayed by ten days. The dispersal of post-feeding blowfly larvae from human cadavers was observed, and was found to be highly variable in direction, distance and time span. A further study was conducted to determine the length of time that empty pupal cases can remain in a natural woodland environment. The results suggested that depth of puparia and timespan are the important factors, and that after a period of three and a half years, the pupae are disintegrated and more difficult to locate and recover. Thermal imaging was also demonstrated as a useful tool in locating and measuring increased larval mass temperatures on both pigs and human cadavers. Benefits of using this method are that it is non-invasive and can be used to record and later analyse thermal images. Decomposition studies were carried out comparing pig and human cadavers. The results showed that the same species of blowfly are attracted to both types of cadaver, and oviposition sites, larval development and decomposition rates are also comparable, supporting the claim for pigs being a good substitute for humans in decomposition studies.
Supervisor: Turner, Bryan; Daniel, Barbara Elizabeth Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available