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8 October 2020 Competition Among Three Forensically Important Blow Fly Species (Diptera: Calliphoridae): Phormia regina, Lucilia sericata, and Chrysomya rufifacies
Amber E. MacInnis, Leon G. Higley
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Avoiding competition is thought to explain insect successional patterns on carrion, but few studies have looked at competition directly. We use replacement series experiments with three species of blow flies: Phormia regina (Meigen) (Diptera: Calliphoridae), Lucilia sericata (Meigen) (Diptera:Calliphoridae), and Chrysomya rufifacies (Macquart) (Diptera:Calliphoridae) to characterize competitive relationships. From experimental results, P. regina showed a significant competitive advantage over L. sericata. Infestation of carrion differs between L. sericata and P. regina; specifically, L. sericata oviposits on carrion without any delay, while P. regina typically delays oviposition. Our findings are consistent with the notion that differences in oviposition times represent a mechanism for L. sericata to avoid potential competition. Competition by C. rufifacies differs since C. rufifacies, in the event of a limited food supply, will prey on other maggot species. In replacement series experiments, C. rufifacies killed all P. regina in mixed treatments, representing an ultimate competitive advantage. In the United States, these two species do not often overlap because of differences in seasonal distribution. However, with climate change, phenological separation may grow less distinct. Surprisingly, in replacement series experiments with C. rufifacies and L. sericata, no competitive interactions were observed. In other studies, L. sericata has been shown to form clusters away from predaceous maggots, allowing improved survival, which may account for the absence of predation by C. rufifacies. Finally, this study shows that replacement series models are useful in measuring competition, supporting the notion that interspecific competition between necrophagous insect species may have driven life history traits of those species.

© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
Amber E. MacInnis and Leon G. Higley "Competition Among Three Forensically Important Blow Fly Species (Diptera: Calliphoridae): Phormia regina, Lucilia sericata, and Chrysomya rufifacies," Environmental Entomology 49(6), 1473-1479, (8 October 2020).
Received: 21 February 2020; Accepted: 8 September 2020; Published: 8 October 2020

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blow fly
forensic entomology
interspecific competition
replacement series model
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