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Forensic Sci Med Pathol. 2011 Dec;7(4):379-92. doi: 10.1007/s12024-010-9209-2. Epub 2011 Jan 7.

Forensic entomology: applications and limitations.

Author information

1
Institute of Forensic Medicine, Kennedyallee 104, 60596 Frankfurt am Main, Germany. amendt@em.uni-frankfurt.de

Abstract

Forensic entomology is the science of collecting and analysing insect evidence to aid in forensic investigations. Its main application is in the determination of the minimum time since death in cases of suspicious death, either by estimating the age of the oldest necrophagous insects that developed on the corpse, or by analysing the insect species composition on the corpse. In addition, toxicological and molecular examinations of these insects may help reveal the cause of death or even the identity of a victim, by associating a larva with its last meal, for example, in cases where insect evidence is left at a scene after human remains have been deliberately removed. Some fly species can develop not only on corpses but on living bodies too, causing myiasis. Analysis of larvae in such cases can demonstrate the period of neglect of humans or animals. Without the appropriate professional collection of insect evidence, an accurate and convincing presentation of such evidence in court will be hampered or even impossible. The present paper describes the principles and methods of forensic entomology and the optimal techniques for collecting insect evidence.

PMID:
21213072
DOI:
10.1007/s12024-010-9209-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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