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1 January 2015 The Importance of Habitat in the Ecology of Decomposition on Rabbit Carcasses in Malaysia: Implications in Forensic Entomology
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Abstract

The stages of decomposition and the faunal succession on rabbit carcasses in three different habitats, namely jungle, rural, and highland areas, were studied. Three New Zealand White rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) carcasses weighing ∼2kg were sampled daily until the decomposition process was completed. Representative specimens of adult flies, larvae, pupa, and mites were collected from the carcasses and processed in the laboratory. There were differences in decomposition rate and faunal succession between the carcasses. The fastest rate of decomposition was recorded in rural area, and the slowest rate of decomposition was recorded in highland area. The carcasses exhibited the same pattern of colonization by adult flies, but the dominant species of larvae and adult flies on each carcass in specific habitats were different. The primary species of flies recorded in jungle were Chrysomya megacephala F., Chrysomya rufifacies (Macquart), Chrysomya chani Kurahashi, Chrysomya villenuevi Patton, Chrysomya nigripes Aubertin, Chrysomya pinguis (Walker), Hemipyrellia ligurriens (Wiedemann), Hemipyrellia tagaliana (Bigot), Hypopyiopsis fumipennis (Walker), Hypopygiopsis violacea (Macquart), and Hydrotaea spinigera Stein represented by both adults and larvae. Musca domestica L., Atherigona sp., Lioproctia pattoni (Senior-White), Lioproctia saprianovae Pape & Bänziger, and Seniorwhitea princeps (Wiedemann) were represented by adults only. The biodiversity of flies in the rural area were C. megacephala, C. rufifacies, H. ligurriens, Fannia canicularis L., Hydrotaea chalcogaster (Wiedemann), and Hyd. spinigera represented by both adults and larvae, meanwhile M. domestica, Atherigona sp., Boettcherisca peregrina (Robineau-Desvoidy), Parasarcophaga taenionota Wiedemann, Parasarcophaga scopariiformis Senior-White, and S. princeps were represented by adults only. The species of flies collected in the highland area were Lucilia porphyrina (Walker), C. megacephala, C. rufifacies, C. villenuevi, C. pinguis, H. ligurriens, Hyd. spinigera, Hyd. chalcogaster, F. canicularis, and Boettcherisca highlandica Kurahashi & Tan represented by both adults and larvae, whereas C. nigripes, Chrysomya thanomthini Kurahashi & Tumrasvin, M. domestica, Atherigona sp., Parasarcophaga albiceps Meigen, P. taenionota, Sepsidae, Phoridae, and Millichidae were represented by adults only. Faunal succession followed the sequence of dominant flies, i.e., Calliphoridae, Sarcophagidae, Muscidae, Sepsidae, and lastly Stratiomyidae for jungle, or Sepsidae for rural and highland studies. Mites, from suborders Mesostigmata, Prostigmata, Astigmatina, and Oribatida, were also recovered throughout decomposition, which could be used for future implementation in forensic investigations. The data obtained from this study could provide more accurate indicators for local forensic scientists in solving criminal cases especially on the determination of time and primary location of death.

© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Entomological Society of America.
Siti Aisyah Silahuddin, Baha Latif, Hiromu Kurahashi, David Evans Walter, and Chong Chin Heo "The Importance of Habitat in the Ecology of Decomposition on Rabbit Carcasses in Malaysia: Implications in Forensic Entomology," Journal of Medical Entomology 52(1), 9-23, (1 January 2015). https://doi.org/10.1093/jme/tju001
Received: 29 September 2013; Accepted: 8 September 2014; Published: 1 January 2015
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