In a test of an arthropod saturation hypothesis, we asked if the 30-yr history of carcass enrichment at the Anthropology Research Facility, Knoxville TN, has altered carcass decay rates or community structure of sarcosaprophagous arthropods, compared with three local nonenriched sites. Over a 12-d period in 1998, using pitfall traps and sweep nets, we sampled a total of 81,000 invertebrates from freshly euthanized pigs (Sus scrofa L.) placed in these sites. From this number, we sorted 69,286 forensically important (sarcosaprophagous) arthropods. The community structure of these organisms, as measured by species and individuals accumulation curves, rarefaction, and nonparametric correlation, was comparable in all four sites in taxonomic similarity, colonization rates, aerial species richness, and ranked abundances of forensically important taxa on a per carcass basis. Measures of carcass decay rate, remaining carcass weight (%) and periodic weight loss, also were similar. In most cases, carcass surface temperatures and maggot mass temperatures were also statistically indistinguishable. Probability-based results and posthoc power analyses of these variables led us to conclude that the sarcosaprophagous arthropod community of the Anthropology Research Facility is representative of surrounding sites.
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Vol. 40 • No. 4