This study examined pig carcasses buried at two different depths, 30 and 60 cm, to determine if insects were able to colonize buried carcasses, when they arrive at each depth, and what fauna were present over seven sampling dates to establish an insect succession database on buried carrion in East Lansing, MI. Thirty-eight pigs were buried, 18 at 30 cm and 20 at 60 cm. Four control carcasses were placed on the soil surface. Three replicates at each depth were exhumed after 3, 7, 14, 21, 30, and 60 d, respectively. One pig also was exhumed from 60 cm after 90 d and another after 120 d. Sarcophaga bullata (Parker) (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) and Hydrotaea sp. (Diptera: Muscidae) were found colonizing buried carrion 5 d after burial at 30 cm. Insect succession at 30 cm proceeded with flesh and muscid flies being the first to colonize, followed by blow flies. Insects were able to colonize carcasses at 60 cm and Hydrotaea sp. and Megaselia scalaris (Loew) (Diptera: Phoridae) were collected 7 d after burial. Insect succession at 60 cm did not proceed similarly, instead muscid and coffin flies were the only larvae collected. Overall these results reveal postburial interval estimates for forensic investigations in mid-Michigan during the summer, depending on climatic and soil conditions.
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Vol. 50 • No. 2