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The Food Preferences of the Blow Fly Lucilia cuprina Offered Human Blood, Semen and Saliva, and Various Nonhuman Foods Sources

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As human DNA profiles can be obtained from blow fly artifacts, this study aimed to establish the feeding preferences of Lucilia cuprina (Wiedemann) blow flies when offered human biological fluids and nonhuman food sources. One‐day‐old and 3‐day‐old blow flies of both sexes were simultaneously offered human blood, semen and saliva, pet food, canned tuna and honey, and the number and length of visits documented over 6┬áh. One‐day‐old flies visited pet food and honey most often, but stayed longest on honey and semen. Three‐day‐old flies visited semen and pet food most often, and stayed longest on these food sources. Blood and saliva were the least preferred options for all flies. Overall, flies preferred dry blood and semen to the wet forms. These findings demonstrate that even when other food sources are available, flies at a crime scene may feed on human biological fluids if present, potentially transferring human DNA.
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Keywords: DNA; Lucilia cuprina; blow fly feeding preferences; blow fly food; crime scene investigation; forensic entomology; forensic science

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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