Translator Disclaimer
1 January 2015 Field Documentation of Unusual Post-Mortem Arthropod Activity on Human Remains
Author Affiliations +
Abstract

During a forensic investigation, the presence of physical marks on human remains can influence the interpretation of events related to the death of an individual. Some tissue injury on human remains can be misinterpreted as ante- or peri-mortem wounds by an investigator when in reality the markings resulted from post-mortem arthropod activity. Unusual entomological data were collected during a study examining the decomposition of a set of human remains in San Marcos, Texas. An adult female Pediodectes haldemani (Girard) (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) and an Armadillidium cf. vulgare (Isopoda: Armadilidiidae) were documented feeding on the remains. Both arthropods produced physical marks or artifacts on the remains that could be misinterpreted as attack, abuse, neglect, or torture. Additionally, red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), were observed constructing structures in the mark produced by the P. haldemani feeding. These observations provide insight into the potential of post-mortem arthropod damage to human remains, which previously had not been described for these taxa, and therefore, physical artifacts on any remains found in similar circumstances may result from arthropod activity and not ante- or peri-mortem wounds.

Jennifer L. Pechal, M. Eric Benbow, Jeffery K. Tomberlin, Tawni L. Crippen, Aaron M. Tarone, Baneshwar Singh, and Paul A. Lenhart "Field Documentation of Unusual Post-Mortem Arthropod Activity on Human Remains," Journal of Medical Entomology 52(1), 105-108, (1 January 2015). https://doi.org/10.1093/jme/tju012
Received: 26 February 2014; Accepted: 18 October 2014; Published: 1 January 2015
JOURNAL ARTICLE
4 PAGES

This article is only available to subscribers.
It is not available for individual sale.
+ SAVE TO MY LIBRARY

SHARE
ARTICLE IMPACT
RIGHTS & PERMISSIONS
Get copyright permission
Back to Top