Variation in Developmental Time for Geographically Distinct Populations of the Common Green Bottle Fly, Lucilia sericata (Meigen)
Time between death and discovery of remains, or postmortem interval (PMI), can be assessed using blow fly maggot age. Forensic entomologists rely on published, often nonlocal, species-specific developmental tables to determine maggot age. In a series of common garden experiments, we investigated the developmental rate variation between populations of Lucilia sericata collected from Sacramento, CA, San Diego, CA, and Easton, MA at 16°C, 26°C, and 36°C. For the 16°C trial the time measurement started at egg hatch, while for the higher temperatures the experiment began at oviposition; the wandering stage signified the endpoint for all experiments. The distribution of developmental times differed significantly (ANOVA, p < 0.001) between the three populations within each temperature treatment. We discovered that regional variation of developmental times within a blow fly species exists. This study demonstrates the importance of assembling local population-specific developmental tables when estimating larval age to determine PMI.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Graduate Group in Forensic Science, 1333 Research Park Drive, University of California, Davis, CA 95618. 2: Department of Entomology, 1 Shields Ave., University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
Publication date: March 1, 2010