Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Forensic entomology is the study of insects, applied to forensics. It deals with what insects lay eggs when and where, and in what order they appear in dead bodies. This can be helpful in determining the time or post mortem interval (PMI) and location of the death in question.
There are many types of insects that can be involved in forensic entomology, but the ones listed here are mostly necrophagous (corpse eating) and related to medicolegal (directly related to the crime, insects on the corpse) entomology. This is not a full list, but a general one. There are many variations due to climate, and many other insects that are necrophagous.
Flies - Order Diptera
Flies are often first on the scene. They prefer a moist corpse for the maggots to feed on, as such a corpse is easier for them to chew.
- Blowflies - Family Calliphoridae
- Fleshflies - Family Sarcophagidae
- House Flies - Family Muscidae
- Cheese Flies - Family Piophilidae
- Coffin Flies - Family Phoridae
Beetles - Order Coleoptera
Beetles are generally found on the corpse when it is more decomposed. In drier conditions, the beetles can be replaced by moth flies Psychodidae .
- Rove Beetles - Family Staphylinidae
- Hister Beetles - Family Histeridae
- Carrion Beetles - Family Silphidae
- Ham Beetles - Family Cleridae
- Carcass Beetles - Family Trogidae
- Skin/Hide Beetles - Family Dermestidae
- Scarab Beetles - Family Scarabaeidae
- Sap beetles - Family Nitidulidae
Wasps, ants, and bees - Order Hymenoptera
The insects in this group, order Hymenoptera, are not necessarily necrophagous. While some feed on the body, some are also predatory, and eat the insects feeding on the body. Bees and wasps have been seen feeding on the body during the early stages.
See also: decomposition
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