Laboratory rearing of Phormia regina Meigen larvae on pork and venison was conducted as part of a study to determine whether forensic entomology approaches can be used in wildlife poaching investigations. Larvae were reared at 30°C, 75% relative humidity, and a photoperiod of 14:10 (L:D) h on pork or venison diets, and samples were collected every 8 h until >90% of the maggots reached the third-instar wandering or prepupal stage. Significant differences were found in the distribution of lengths of the third instar and combined instars for maggots reared on the two different meat sources. Maggots reared on venison reached the prepupal wandering stage significantly faster (≈6 h) compared with maggots on the pork diet. Mean adult weight and wing length of venison-reared flies were significantly greater than for flies reared on pork. The lower crude fat content of venison appears to make this meat source a more suitable medium than pork for larvae of P. regina. The difference in growth rate could introduce error into PMImin estimations from third-instar maggots in deer poaching cases if estimates are based on data from studies in which maggots were reared on pork.
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Vol. 51 • No. 5