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The Influence of Clothing and Wrapping on Carcass Decomposition and Arthropod Succession During the Warmer Seasons in Central South Africa

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The influence of clothing and wrapping on carcass decomposition and arthropod succession was investigated to provide data to enable estimated postmortem interval in homicide investigations. Six pig carcasses, Sus scrofa, were divided into three sample groups, each with a clothed carcass wrapped and a carcass wrapped with no clothes. Two more carcasses, one with no clothes or wrapping, the other with clothes and no wrapping were used as controls. The clothed or wrapped carcasses had larger visible maggot masses, which moved more freely and these carcasses took longer to dry out. The blow fly maggot masses were dominated by Chrysomya marginalis and Chrysomya albiceps. Oviposition occurred simultaneously on all carcasses. High temperatures in one case caused significant maggot mortality. The Coleoptera community was dominated by Silphidae, Thanathopilus micans larvae, Dermestidae, Dermestes maculatus adults and larvae, and Cleridae, Necrobia rufipes.
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Keywords: South Africa; blow fly succession; clothing and wrapping; forensic entomology; forensic science

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of the Free State, PO Box 339, Bloemfontein 9300, South Africa. 2: School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, V5A 1S6 BC, Canada.

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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