The study of insect fauna and their development and succession patterns on decaying cadavers is crucial to promoting insect evidence as a useful tool in forensic science, particularly for estimating the postmortem interval (PMI). Body decomposition and arthropod succession are affected by many factors and exhibit substantial regional variations; therefore, detailed succession studies in different biogeographic regions are required for understanding the successional patterns of insects in various environments. This study was conducted in the summer of 2021 using three domestic pig carcasses (Sus scrofa domestica L., 1758) in the field of Shizuishan City, Ningxia, Northwest China. A total of 40 species of necrophagous insects belonging to three orders and 16 families were collected. Among Diptera, Lucilia sericata (Meigen,1826), Chrysomya megacephala (Fabricius,1794), and Phormia regina (Meigen,1826) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) were the dominant species. As for Coleoptera, the dominant species changed throughout the process of carcass decomposition from Saprinus semipunctatus (Fabricius,1792) (Coleoptera: Histeridae) to Dermestes maculatus DeGeer,1774 and Dermestes frischii Kugelann,1792 (Coleoptera: Dermestidae).The carcasses desiccated rapidly and reached the remains stage under extreme conditions of high temperatures and low humidity, after which a large amount of dried tissue of the carcasses attracted populations of Coleoptera, particularly Dermstidae, which were abundant and remained until the end of the experiment on day 50. The current study is the first forensic entomological investigation of succession in Northwest China and provides basic data for the estimation of PMI during summer in this region.
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7 December 2022
A Preliminary Study of Body Decomposition and Arthropod Succession in an Arid Area in Northwest China During Summer
Journal of Medical Entomology
Vol. 60 • No. 2
Vol. 60 • No. 2