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J Forensic Sci. 2013 Jan;58 Suppl 1:S112-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2012.02277.x. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

Nocturnal colonization behavior of blowflies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) in southeastern Australia.

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School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Locked Bag 20000, Geelong, Vic., 3220, Australia.


Worldwide research into nocturnal colonization by blowflies has produced many contradictory findings, prompting investigation specific to southeastern Australia. Initial experiments showed that blowfly colonization begins shortly after sunrise and continues until sunset; nocturnal colonization never occurred. Colonization peaks occurred at mid-morning, midday, and in the hours preceding sunset. In an additional experiment, wild blowflies were captured and placed in cages with colonization medium supplied nocturnally. Colonization occurred on four of five nights, and Calliphora augur (Fabricius) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) was the main species colonizing baits nocturnally. Results suggest that colonization is most likely to occur during warm weather and when flies are able to walk or crawl to bait. In particular, blowflies trapped within a confined space (such as a room or car) with warmer-than-ambient temperature may be stimulated to colonize nearby remains. Entomologists should consider these findings when estimating minimum postmortem interval under these environmental conditions.

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