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Morphology of immature stages of Hemipyrellia ligurriens (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) for use in forensic entomology applications

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Abstract

In forensic investigations, all immature stages of flies (egg, larvae, and puparium) can serve as entomological evidence at death scenes. These insects are primarily used to estimate the post mortem interval (PMI), but can also be involved in the analysis of toxic substances, determining manner of death, and in indicating relocation of a corpse in homicide cases. In this study, we present the morphology of the egg, larvae, and puparium of Hemipyrellia ligurriens, a blow fly species of forensic importance in Thailand. Examination was conducted using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The egg stage was found to display a relatively wide plastron region (or median hatch line area) that spans almost the entire length of the egg. The median hatch line is oriented in an upright position. External chorionic sculpture of the egg is present in a hexagonal pattern whose reticular boundaries are slightly elevated. In the larval stages, the most prominent morphological changes were detected upon comparison of the first to the second instar; whereas, the differences between second and third instar larvae were less obvious outside of the increase in number of posterior spiracular slits. Most of the major differences involve body size and structure of the anterior and posterior spiracles. Each anterior spiracle in both the second and third instars projects five to seven papillae apically. Each posterior spiracular disc of a third instar exhibits a complete peritreme, three spiracular slits, and a prominent button that is ventromedially located. The puparium is coarctate and features a clustered bubble membrane comprised of ≈57 mammillate structures positioned dorsolaterally on each side of the first abdominal segment in young puparia. This feature is replaced by short, tubular respiratory horns in aged puparia. This study provides more detailed exposure of important morphological features that can be used for accurate identification of immature stages of H. ligurriens. Information presented can aid in forensic investigations involving this fly species.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the Faculty of Medicine and Chiang Mai University for subsidizing publication cost. This publication is an output from research projects supported by the Thailand Research Fund (Project RMU4980007 to KLS).

Author information

Correspondence to Kabkaew L. Sukontason.

Additional information

This work has been presented in the 16th European Society of Vector Ecology held in Cambridge, UK, on 25–28 March, 2008.

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Sukontason, K.L., Sribanditmongkol, P., Chaiwong, T. et al. Morphology of immature stages of Hemipyrellia ligurriens (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) for use in forensic entomology applications. Parasitol Res 103, 877–887 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-008-1072-7

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Keywords

  • Myiasis
  • Cephalic Region
  • Forensic Entomology
  • Caudal Segment
  • Posterior Spiracle