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Forensic entomology

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.

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 .

Mites - Class Acari

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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Last updated: 03-18-2005 11:16:12