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Using Frons Width to Differentiate Blow Fly Species (Diptera: Calliphoridae) Phormia regina (Meigen) and Protophormia terraenovae (Robineau‐Desvoidy)

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Protophormia terraenovae (Robineau‐Desvoidy) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) and Phormia regina (Meigen) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) are morphologically similar blow fly species commonly used for estimating postmortem intervals. Field collection and storage of adults can result in color changes, in particular on calypters and palps; often collected specimens show damage such as wing fray or fungal growth. We measured the frons width: total head width ratio using photographs (ImageJ version 1.49) to differentiate these two species. Both sexes were distinguishable to species, with the greatest difference between males: 12.34% P. terraenovae versus 1.62% P. regina, less so for females: 40.25% P. terraenovae, versus 33.65% P. regina. Incorporating this feature into future blow fly keys would help with distinguishing field‐caught specimens when other features are obstructed.
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Keywords: Calliphoridae; cytochrome oxidase I gene; forensic entomology; forensic science; morphology; species determination

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2017

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