Forensic entomology

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Forensic entomology, abbreviated FE, is the study of the bugs that eat corpses, to help determine when someone died.

Utility of FE:

  • Can be very useful for determining time of death (as bugs usually come in a predictable sequence).
  • Forensic pathologists don't need to be experts in FE... but need to know where there is overlap.


  • The first bug to invade the dead body is blow-flies (Calliphoridae spp.).
    • Blow-fly invasion is, typically, in the first 24 hours.
      • The flies are thought to be inactive at night.[1]
    • The flies are attracted to moist areas (where there is abundant easily accessible protein), such as:
      • Mucous membranes, e.g. mouth, nose, and
      • Important in the forensic context -- wounds.
  • The corpse ecosystem's favourability is dependent on many factors-- including:[2]
    • Temperature + its variation with time.[3]
    • Humidity.
    • Local insect population.
    • Time of year -- as the above three change.


See also


  1. Amendt J, Zehner R, Reckel F (February 2008). "The nocturnal oviposition behaviour of blowflies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) in Central Europe and its forensic implications". Forensic Sci. Int. 175 (1): 61-4. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2007.05.010. PMID 17587519.
  2. VanLaerhoven SL (September 2008). "Blind validation of postmortem interval estimates using developmental rates of blow flies". Forensic Sci. Int. 180 (2-3): 76-80. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2008.07.002. PMID 18701225.
  3. Byrd JH, Allen JC (August 2001). "The development of the black blow fly, Phormia regina (Meigen)". Forensic Sci. Int. 120 (1-2): 79-88. PMID 11457615.

External links