Importance Of Forensic Entomology Essay

1957 words - 8 pages

When investigating a case there are many different things to look for and inspect. In the event that there is a dead body found they must search for the cause of death, any wounds, the time of death, a possible suspect, and much more. One aspect of an investigation that is not usually heard of or known to many people is the forensic entomology or studying the bugs found within the body. “Forensic entomology is the study of insects for a medico-legal use” [1]. This is something that can actually be of great use to an investigation and can tell a lot more than one may think. There are many different bugs or insects that may be found in, with, or around a body. After much studying of the insects investigators have learned that the most valuable thing bugs bring to the table is being able to get an accurate time of death (TOD). There are a few different types of insects that are used when looking at the TOD of a body. The most common insects used are Calliphoridae or blowflies, and Coleoptera or beetles [2]. These two bugs are used in two very different ways and methods. Not only are the methods used different but also they are used at different time intervals of finding a corpse. The blowflies are generally the first animals to arrive at any scene where a body is present. They will generally arrive within hours and even minutes depending on the situation and if body fluids are spilled out. Beetles on the other hand are not found till later on in the decay process. Although, there are many different tools an investigator may use to determine the post mortem interval (PMI) of a body, over the last several years of studying medico-legal professionals have discovered that using forensic entomology can get the PMI down to within a one day range. For this reason it is becoming more prevalent and very important in todays’ forensic cases.
When a deceased body is found one of the most frequent questions an investigator asks or wants to know is how long the body has been there. In the early stages of decomposition it is not hard to get a rough estimate of the TOD based on the color of the body, the odor, etc. However, after about 72hours or 3 days of a body being left out to decompose it may be more difficult to use these normal methods [3]. Luckily flies and specifically blowflies will leave behind a distinct trail to follow that will lead to almost the exact day the person died. After much studying has taken place on these flies, scientists were able to determine a detailed time frame in which a fly cycles. A normal blowfly will arrive on the body and lay its eggs in any open hole. These opening may be anatomical holes, or wounds. Regardless, after the eggs have hatched there will be three instars or stages of maggots as they grow, then there will be a pupa phase, and then into a new adult fly. According to J.L. Castner and J.H. Byrd the stages are mapped out to 23 hours as an egg, 27 hours in first instar, 22 hours in second instar, 130 hours in third...

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