Beetles and flies collected on pig carrion in an experimental setting in Thuringia and their forensic implications

Authors

  • E. ANTON,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Entomology group, Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie mit Phyletischem Museum, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Jena, Germany
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  • S. NIEDEREGGER,

    1. Department of Forensic Entomology, Institut für Rechtsmedizin, Universitätsklinikum Jena, Jena, Germany
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  • R. G. BEUTEL

    1. Department of Entomology group, Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie mit Phyletischem Museum, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Jena, Germany
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E. Anton, Department of Entomology group, Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie mit Phyletischem Museum, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Erbertstrasse 1, D-07743 Jena, Germany. Tel.: + 49 3641 223675; Fax: + 49 3641 949142; E-mail: eric_anton@web.de

Abstract

Decomposition processes and insect succession were analysed on a total of eight pig (Sus scrofa) carcasses. The survey was carried out in four different periods between November 2007 and August 2008 and on two different substrates (meadow, concrete floor close to a building). The experiments were placed in a rural site in the surroundings of Jena, Thuringia. The duration and specificity of the different decomposition stages were dependent on season, weather and quality and quantity of insect colonization. Whereas the carrion maintained a bloated appearance even after 133 days in winter, it reached the dry stage within 8 days in the summer months. The type of substrate had few effects on the decaying process, but the insects were generally more abundant on the meadow. In total, more than 57 species of Diptera belonging to 17 families and 48 species of Coleoptera belonging to 14 families were identified. Dominant species belonged to the families of Calliphoridae (n = 11 spp.), Sarcophagidae (n = 8), Muscidae (n = 9), Piophilidae (n = 3), Silphidae (n = 6), Dermestidae (n = 3), Nitidulidae (n = 4), Cleridae (n = 3) and Histeridae (n = 2). Remarkably, the rather common Nicrophorus species were completely absent, whereas the usually rare Necrodes littoralis (L.) was present in larger numbers. No distinct coincidence between the occurrence of a single species and a certain decomposition stage could be confirmed. A main objective of the study is the establishment of a forensic entomological database for Central Europe, especially Thuringia.

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