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Temperature-dependent development and the significance for estimating postmortem interval of Chrysomya nigripes Aubertin, a new forensically important species in China

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Abstract

In forensic entomology, the developmental duration and larval body length of sarcosaprophagous flies are presently the two major approaches to estimate minimal postmortem interval (PMImin). A full characterization of the developmental stages of Calliphoridae, a predominating species on corpses, is especially important for PMI estimation. Chrysomya nigripes Aubertin, which appears on the corpse mainly during the decay and the post-decay stages, is of significant value for PMImin estimation. However, there are limited detailed reports on the development of such species. Hence, this study was conducted to address the development pattern of C. nigripes, in order to provide the basic data related to PMI estimation. In this study, the larvae of C. nigripes were collected from pig carcasses that were placed in the field. The colonies were cultured at constant temperatures of 16, 20, 24, 28, and 32 (±1) °C. The biological features of C. nigripes, the developmental pattern, and the body length with time at different temperatures were studied. The results showed that the average developmental duration of the C. nigripes larvae at 20, 24, 28, and 32 (±1) °C were 608.0 ± 68.0 h, 327.0 ± 53.8 h, 254.0 ± 36.5 h, and 217.0 ± 28.0 h, respectively. There were two phases of body length increment with developmental time: growing phase and plateau phase. The maximal body length was 11–12 mm, and the relationship between body length and developmental time can be simulated using the following equation: L = a + bT + cT2 + dT3. The data for developmental duration and larval body length at 16 °C were not obtained. In summary, this study comprehensively studied the developmental biology of C. nigripes, which has a significant value for estimating PMI from highly decayed carcasses.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Lingfeng Gui (bureau of public security of Panyu district of Guangzhou city) for providing outdoor carcasses simulation field. This study was supported by the grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30870332, No. 81273352). Thanks to the two anonymous reviewers, and their comments and suggestions give us great inspiration.

Author information

Correspondence to Jiangfeng Wang.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Soochow University ethical research committee. All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants (or their relation) included in the study.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

ESP_1 eggs, larvae, pupae, adults, and new emergence adults of C. nigripes in field successional experiment. From 00:00 to 00:27 video playback is the eggs and adults. From 00:28 to 01:15 video playback is the larvae. From 01:16 to 01:39 video playback is the pupae. From 01:40 to 02:09 video playback is the new emergence adults (FLV 129554 kb)

ESM 1

ESP_1 eggs, larvae, pupae, adults, and new emergence adults of C. nigripes in field successional experiment. From 00:00 to 00:27 video playback is the eggs and adults. From 00:28 to 01:15 video playback is the larvae. From 01:16 to 01:39 video playback is the pupae. From 01:40 to 02:09 video playback is the new emergence adults (FLV 129554 kb)

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Li, L., Wang, Y., Wang, J. et al. Temperature-dependent development and the significance for estimating postmortem interval of Chrysomya nigripes Aubertin, a new forensically important species in China. Int J Legal Med 130, 1363–1370 (2016) doi:10.1007/s00414-016-1315-6

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Keywords

  • Chrysomya nigripes Aubertin
  • Postmortem interval
  • Developmental stage
  • Body length
  • Post-decay stage