Burial has a unique effect on carrion fauna and this may affect the decomposition rate, consequently interfering with postmortem estimates. We surveyed the Coleoptera on buried rabbit carcasses between April 2008 and March 2009. The insects of forensic importance totaled 1,502 individuals, constituting 87.12% of the Coleoptera collected. The composition of the beetle community varied seasonally. Exposed carcasses lost weight much faster than buried ones. The weight lost by exposed cadavers in a week was greater than those carcasses buried for 10 wk. The temperature variations of the buried carcasses and the soil were around three times less variable than the environmental temperature. The proximity between the temperature variations of the soil and buried carcasses was because of the absence of larval masses. The results show differences in decomposition and faunal composition, demonstrating their relevance in the interpretation of cases with bodies in a similar situation.
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Vol. 51 • No. 5