Forensic Entomology: The Use of Insects

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1493 |

Pages: 3|

8 min read

Published: Oct 22, 2018

Words: 1493|Pages: 3|8 min read

Published: Oct 22, 2018

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. History
  3. Arthropoda
  4. Five Stages of Decomposition Fueled by Insect Activity
  5. DNA analysis for species identification


Forensic Entomologists apply their knowledge of entomology to provide information for criminal investigations. Species succession may also provide clues for investigators. Some species may feed on a fresh corpse, while another species may prefer to feed on one that has been dead for two weeks.

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Investigators will also find other insect species that prey on the insects feeding on the corpse. Species succession may also provide clues for investigators. Forensic Entomology is used to determine time since death (the time between death and corpse discovery) This is called postmortem interval or PMI). Other uses include movement of the corpse manner and cause of death association of suspects with the death scene, detection of toxins, drugs, or even the DNA of the victim through analysis of insect larvae


First documented forensic entomology case reported by Chinese lawyer and death investigator Sung Tzu in the 13 the century A case of stabbing of farmer solved by use of insects (adult flies) detected blood on the killer’s sickle first application of forensic entomology in a modern courthouse was in 18th-century France where entomological data was admitted as proof for acquitting the current occupants of the residence from where the skeletonized remains of a child were found. In the 18thcentury Yovanovich and Megnin’s evaluation of the insect succession on corpses established the science of forensic entomology.


Not as large of a biomass as bacteria – but run a respectable second! Unifying Characteristic – hard exoskeleton Most insects used in investigations are in two major orders: Flies (Diptera), and  Beetles (Coleoptera).

Class Insecta includes bees and wasps (Order Hymenoptera,) flies (O. Diptera,) butterflies (O. Lepidoptera,) dragonflies (O. Odanata,) beetles (O. Coleoptera,) etc. “True Bugs” are Order Hemiptera. No hemipterans have any consequence for forensic science – so erase “bugs” from your vocabulary

As soon as death occurs, cells start dying and enzymes start digesting the cells inside out in a process called autolysis. The body starts decomposing. Bacteria present in the gastrointestinal tract start destroying the soft tissue producing liquids and gases like hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, and hydrogen.

Insects mostly involved in the forensic investigations are true flies or Diptera. The predominant species in this order are Blow & Green bottle Flies (Calliphoridae), Flesh Fly(Sarcophagidae), House Fly (Muscidae), Cheese Skipper (Piophilidae) Calliphoridae (blow flies), Sacrophagidae (flesh flies) may arrive within minutes following death. Muscidae (house flies) delay colonization until the body reaches bloat stages of decomposition. Calliphoridae adults are commonly shiny with metallic coloring, often with blue, green, or black thoraxes and abdomen. Sarcophagidae is medium-sized flies with black and gray longitudinal stripes on the thorax and checkering on the abdomen.

The adult Muscidae are 8-12 mm long. Their thorax is gray, with four longitudinal dark lines on the back. The whole body is covered with hair-like projections. Usual areas of oviposition or egg-laying are the natural body openings and wounds. When they hatch, they produce a larva called maggot. They are small peg-shaped organisms with a pair of mouth hooks on the anterior end for feeding.Maggots grow rapidly passing through the three stages or instars, reaching the full size. Once the full size is reached feeding stops and they migrate to drier areas and they begin pupariation (pupa formation). At this stage, the outer skin of the maggot becomes hardened and forms a protective encasement eventually emerging as a fly.

Five Stages of Decomposition Fueled by Insect Activity

As indicated by the examinations done by K. Tullies and M. L Goff on uncovered flesh in a tropical rainforest, it was discovered that the disintegration procedure was best separated into five phases based on physical appearance of cadavers, interior temperatures, and trademark bug populaces:

  1. New stage (Days 1-2): which starts right now of death and finishes when the swelling of the corpse is watched. Despite the fact that autolysis happens at this stage net morphological changes don't happen now. The estimation of the season of death by entomological information after 24 hrs is more precise than restorative analyst's estimation in light of the delicate tissue examination. Bugs were seen pulled in inside the initial 10 min of death to the corpse however no egg laying (oviposition) was found amid this state. Cell breakdown happens amid this arrange without morphologic modifications. Despite the fact that morphological changes and smells are not self-evident to people, the chemicals discharged from the cell breakdown draws in creepy crawlies even in this early stage.
  2. Enlarged stage (Days 2-7): Putrefaction starts at this arrange. Gases delivered by the metabolic exercises of anaerobic microscopic organisms cause a swelling of the belly and the body framing an inflatable like appearance amid the later part. Arthropod exercises joined with the rot forms cause inward temperatures of the corpse to rise. The best quantities of grown-up Diptera were pulled in to the corpses amid this stage. By the fourth day, first-and early second-instar or larval stages Diptera were available. By the start of Day 2, a few predators of Diptera hatchlings were likewise recouped from the remains.
  3. Rot organize (Days 5-13): Abdominal divider is entered, bringing about the emptying of the remains and completion the enlarged stage, the interior temperature ascends to 14 degrees over the encompassing temperature took after by a drop implying the finish of the rot organize. Rotting scents are high amid expanded temperatures and drop with a fall in temperature. There is a consistent diminish in the heaviness of the cadaver by the tenth day. There is a transformation of remains biomass to dipteran larval biomass. The hatchlings thusly withdraw from the cadaver to pupate.
  4. Post-riot organize (Days 10-23): The post-riot arrange starts when the greater part of the Diptera hatchlings leave the remains, deserting bones, ligament, hair, little bits of tissue, and a lot of wet, thick material known as side-effects of rot (BOD). The BOD is the real site of arthropod action amid this stage.
  5. Remains organize (Days 18-90+): This stage is portrayed by bones with little ligament remaining and the BOD has dried up. The transition from post-decay to remains stage is gradual, with declining adult and larval Diptera populations.

Steps in estimating the postmortem index with insect larvae Ventures in evaluating the after death file with creepy crawly hatchlings. The bug hatchlings introduce on the dead body can give proof for the estimation of PMI up to one month. Remedy species distinguishing proof is the underlying advance. Unique species contrast in their development rates and development. For assessing the PMI, the age of the hatchlings must be resolved. By estimating the length or dry weight of the most seasoned hatchlings furthermore, contrasting it and the reference information, the age of the hatchlings can be assessed.

The rate of advancement of the hatchlings is reliant on the encompassing surrounding temperatures. Each phase of improvement has its temperature necessity consequently every species has its own characterized number of aggregated degree days or amassed degree hours to finish its advancement. Once the warm history of the hatchlings is gotten, it can be contrasted and temperatures at the passing scene and PMI can be evaluated.

The original grown-up flies can likewise be utilized to decide the age. They can be recognized by the wilted wings and small midriff with dull dim color. When bugs colonizing the remains in a specific zone is known, a bug colonizing progression model can likewise be utilized to assess the PMI.  Utilizing bug information for deciding the site of wrongdoing There are accounted for contrasts in the types of bugs included with the breaking down cadaver in various natural surroundings what's more, surroundings.

DNA analysis for species identification

A watchful examination can uncover species variety, as species related with one sort of natural surroundings show on a carcass is observed to be unique in relation to those when the cadaver is transported after death. DNA investigation for species distinguishing proof Distinguishing the right species is the imperative beginning advance for assessing the age of the hatchlings.

The morphological examination is typically utilized for species recognizable proof which requires unique ability and is regularly tedious. So as to beat this trouble species recognizable proof should be possible by polymerized chain response enhancement appropriate districts of the hatchlings genomes and looking at it with reference data.

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The hatchlings of the flies which eat the remains can gather drugs ingested by the perished individual. Bodies which are in cutting-edge phases of disintegration or which are skeletonized are hard to inspect for toxicological substances. In these cases, the hatchlings bolstering on this body can be macerated and dissected with strategies like thin-layer chromatography, gas chromatography or potentially mass spectrometry. Poisons can impact the phases of improvement of the hatchlings. Cocaine and heroin in the cadaver can quicken the larval improvement. Toxic substances like malathion in the carcass can defer the creepy crawly colonization.

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Forensic Entomology: The Use Of Insects. (2018, October 22). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 2, 2023, from
“Forensic Entomology: The Use Of Insects.” GradesFixer, 22 Oct. 2018,
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