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The Effects of Temperature on Blowfly Colonization of Decomposing Human Bodies

NCJ Number
303953
Date Published
January 2022
Annotation

This article details how a National Institute of Justice-funded research team investigated how suboptimal environmental conditions influence blowfly colonization.

Abstract

Forensic investigators typically use the well-known stages of blowfly development on cadavers as a biological clock to determine the time since death, or the postmortem interval. That clock can be misleading, however, if the temperatures around a body are outside the moderate range, causing the time since death to seem longer or shorter than it actually is. This article details how a National Institute of Justice-funded research team investigated how suboptimal environmental conditions influence blowfly colonization. The researchers from Texas A&M University noted that blowfly development in cadavers is largely untested under more extreme temperatures. Principle investigator Aaron Tarone, an entomologist, concluded that the research data from this study can aid forensic investigations in several ways, such as informing them on what conditions could lead to an overestimate or underestimate of the time of colonization.