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Larval identification key to necrophagous Coleoptera of medico-legal importance in the western Palaearctic

Published on Nov 1, 2018in International Journal of Legal Medicine2.094
· DOI :10.1007/s00414-018-1909-2
Luisa M. Díaz-Aranda6
Estimated H-index: 6
(University of Alcalá),
Daniel Martín-Vega13
Estimated H-index: 13
(University of Alcalá)
+ 1 AuthorsBlanca Cifrián8
Estimated H-index: 8
(University of Alcalá)
Sources
Abstract
Several necrophagous Coleoptera species are frequently collected on cadavers, may occasionally act as intermediate or paratenic hosts of parasites, as vectors of pathogens or as allergens, and can also represent major pests of preserved animal products. However, despite their medical, veterinary and economic importance, there is a lack of reliable species identification tools for the larval stages (usually the only entomological evidence associated with medicolegal investigations), thus severely limiting their potential application as forensic indicators. Here, we provide an identification key to the larvae of the necrophagous Coleoptera species which have been recorded on carrion in the western Palaearctic region, based on easily observable morphological characters. In total, we provide diagnostic characters for the reliable identification of 23 necrophagous Coleoptera species within four different families (Cleridae, Dermestidae, Nitidulidae and Silphidae). In addition to the aforementioned families, we provide diagnostic characters for the identification of the larvae of families Histeridae, Staphylinidae and Trogidae, which can also be collected on cadavers. It is expected that the present key will facilitate the identification of larval material of necrophagous Coleoptera collected either in carrion succession studies or during medicolegal investigations, in order to further advance in the potential use of this insects as forensic tools.
  • References (51)
  • Citations (2)
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#1Martin Novák (CULS: Czech University of Life Sciences Prague)H-Index: 2
#2Pavel Jakubec (CULS: Czech University of Life Sciences Prague)H-Index: 3
Last. Jan Růžička (CULS: Czech University of Life Sciences Prague)H-Index: 3
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Determination of insect species and their instars, occurring on human remains, is important information that allows us to use insects for estimation of postmortem interval and detect possible manipulation with the body. However, larvae of many common species can be identified only by molecular methods, which is not always possible. The instar determination is even more challenging, and qualitative characters that would allow a more precise identification are mostly unknown. Thanatophilus rugosus...
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Abstract The variation in decomposition and insect succession among the four seasons of one year was studied for the first time in a periurban area of central Spain. During the winter trial, the carcasses showed corification, a cadaveric preservation phenomenon which apparently leaded to a significant delay in decomposition processes. The composition of the insect fauna breeding on carcasses changed significantly between trials. Active decay was mainly driven by Calliphoridae (Diptera) larvae in...
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Abstract On 16 July 2015, a body of a 64-year-old man in advanced decomposition was found in an open area of the suburb of Śrem (western Poland). Postmortem interval (PMI) was estimated by forensic pathologist for 3–6 weeks. Insects were sampled from the cadaver and the soil from below the cadaver. Empty puparia of Phormia regina were the most developmentally advanced specimens of blowflies. Moreover, third instar larva of Necrodes littoralis was collected directly from the cadaver. For the esti...
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The Muscidae is one of the main dipteran families recognized as important for medico-legal purposes. Although an association of adult flies with decomposing human and animal bodies is documented for about 200 taxa worldwide, cadavers and carrion represents a breeding habitat for considerably fewer species. Species that do colonize dead human bodies can do so under diverse environmental conditions and, under certain circumstances, Muscidae may be the only colonizers of a body. Because of difficul...
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Baseline data on the insect successional patterns on carcasses can be a valuable estimation tool in the investigations of suspicious deaths, particularly when the post-mortem interval is longer than months or years. However, although carrion insect succession is a recurrent topic in forensic science research, the duration of the published studies is typically shorter than 1 year, with only one published study from central Europe documenting successional patterns beyond the first year of decompos...
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