Parasitology Research

, Volume 106, Issue 5, pp 1055–1064 | Cite as

Forensically important flesh fly species in Thailand: morphology and developmental rate

  • Kom SukontasonEmail author
  • Nophawan Bunchu
  • Tarinee Chaiwong
  • Kittikhun Moophayak
  • Kabkaew L. Sukontason
Original Paper


Forensically important flesh fly species in Thailand have been investigated for their larval morphology and developmental rate to increase the forensic entomology database in Thailand and nearby countries. Sarcophaga (Liosarcophaga) dux Thomson, Sarcophaga (Liopygia) ruficornis (Fabricius), and Sarcophaga (Boettcherisca) peregrina (Robineau-Desvoidy) are the species of greatest forensic importance. The third instars of these species are similar in morphological appearance, making it difficult or impossible to differentiate between them based on external morphological characteristics. This study compares these important characteristics and reveals that the most distinctive is the posterior spiracle, followed by the number of papillae on the anterior spiracle. For confirmation of these species, the unique characteristics of adult males are also shown for accurate identification. Both the third instar and adult male characteristics are keys to identifying these species. In addition, the developmental rate of S. dux was examined in northern Thailand during 2002–2003 under natural ambient temperature (≈24–28°C) and a natural light/dark photoperiod (≈12:12 h), indicating relatively rapid larval development in summer (March–June), pre-pupae (stop moving) initiated at 72 h. In the rainy season (July–October), pre-pupae initiated at 72 or 96 h, whereas pre-pupae initiated at 96 h in winter.


Developmental Rate Yellowish Orange Forensic Entomology Posterior Spiracle Human Corpse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by the Thailand Research Fund (RMU5080036). We thank the Faculty of Medicine and Chiang Mai University for defraying the publication cost.


  1. Al-Misned FAM (2004) Effect of temperature on development and mortality of immature Sarcophaga (Liosarcophaga) dux Thomson (Diptera: Sarcophagidae). J King Saud Univ Agri Sci 16:53–60Google Scholar
  2. Alwar VS, Seshiah S (1958) Studies on the life-history and bionomics of Sarcophaga dux Thomson, 1968. Indian Vet J 35:559–565Google Scholar
  3. Amendt J, Krettek R, Niess C, Zehner R, Bratzke H (2000) Forensic entomology in Germany. Forensic Sci Int 113:309–314CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson GS, VanLaerhoven SL (1996) Initial studies on insect succession on carrion in Southwestern British Columbia. J Forensic Sci 41:617–625Google Scholar
  5. Aspoas BR (1991) Comparative micromorphology of third instar larvae and the breeding biology of some Afrotropical Sarcophaga (Diptera: Sarcophagidae). Med Vet Entomol 5:437–445CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bänziger H, Pape T (2004) Flowers, feces and cadavers: natural feeding and laying habitats of flesh flies in Thailand (Diptera: Sarcophagidae, Sarcophaga spp.). J Nat His 38:1677–1694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Benecke M (1998) Six forensic entomology cases: description and commentary. J Forensic Sci 43:797–805PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bohart GE, Gressitt JL (1951) Filth-inhabiting flies of Guam. Bernice P Bishop Mus Bull 204:1–151Google Scholar
  9. Byrd JH, Butler JF (1998) Effects of temperature on Sarcophaga haemorrhoidalis (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) development. J Med Entomol 35:694–698PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Byrd JH, Castner JL (2001) Insects of forensic importance. In: Byrd JH, Castner JL (eds) Forensic entomology: the utility of arthropods in legal investigations. CRC, Florida, pp 43–79Google Scholar
  11. Carvalho LM, Thyssen PJ, Linhares AX, Palhares FA (2000) A checklist of arthropods associated with pig carrion and human corpses in southeastern brazil. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 95:135–138PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Chigusa Y, Kurahashi H, Kanasugi T, Ishii K, Kirinoki M, Hayashi-Kato N, Tokudome S, Matsuda H (2006) The 6th International Congress of Dipterology, Fukuoka, Japan 23–28 September 2006Google Scholar
  13. Christopherson C, Gibo DL (1997) Foraging by food deprived larvae of Neobellieria bullata (Diptera: Sarcophagidae). J Forensic Sci 42:71–73PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Dahlem GA (1991) Sarcophagidae (Oestroidea). In: Stehr FW (ed) Immature insects, vol 2. Kendall/Hunt, Dubuque, pp 871–873Google Scholar
  15. Definis-Gojanovic M, Sutlovic D, Britvic D, Kokan B (2007) Drug analysis in necrophagous flies and human tissues. Arh Hig Rada Toksikol 58:313–316PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Eesa NM, el-Sibae MM (1993) Population dynamics of some synanthropic fly species in different habitats in Buraydah, Saudi Arabia. J Egypt Soc Parasitol 23:133–140PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Goff ML, Odom CB (1987) Forensic entomology in the Hawaiian Islands. Three case studies. Am J Forensic Med Pathol 8:45–50PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Goff ML, Omori AI, Gunatilake K (1988) Estimation of postmortem interval by arthropod succession. Three case studies from the Hawaiian Islands. Am J Forensic Med Pathol 9:220–225CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Goff ML, Omori AI, Goodbrod JR (1989) Effect of cocaine in tissues on the rate of development of Boettcherisca peregrina (Diptera: Sarcophagidae). J Med Entomol 26:91–93PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Goff ML, Brown WA, Hewadikaram KA, Omori AI (1991) Effects of heroin in decomposing tissues on the developmental rate of Boettcherisca peregrina (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) and implication of this effect on estimation of postmortem intervals using arthropod development patterns. J Forensic Sci 36:537–542PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Goff ML, Brown WA, Omori AI, LaPointe DA (1994) Preliminary observations of the effects of phencyclidine in decomposing tissues on the development of Parasarcophaga ruficornis (Diptera: Sarcophagidae). J Forensic Sci 39:123–128PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Goff ML, Miller ML, Paulson JD, Lord WD, Richards E, Omori AI (1997) Effects of 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine in decomposing tissues on the development of Parasarcophaga ruficornis (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) and detection of the drug in postmortem blood, liver tissues, larvae and puparia. J Forensic Sci 42:276–280PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Gomes L, Gomes G, Desuo IC (2009) A preliminary study of insect fauna on pig carcasses located in sugarcane in winter in southeastern Brazil. Med Vet Entomol 23:155–159CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Greenberg B, Wells JD (1998) Forensic use of Megaselia abdita and M. scalaris (Phoridae: Diptera): case studies, development rates, and egg structure. J Med Entomol 35:205–209PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Introna F, Campobasso CP, Di Fazio A (1998) Three case studies in forensic entomology from southern Italy. J Forensic Sci 43:210–214PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Ishijima H (1967) Revision of the third stage larvae of synanthropic flies of Japan (Diptera: Anthomyiidae, Muscidae, Calliphoridae and Sarcophagidae). Jpn J Sanit Zool 18:47–100Google Scholar
  27. Lee HL (1996) Recovery of forensically important insect larvae from human cadavers in Malaysia (1993–1996). Malays J Pathol 18:125–127PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Leite AC, Lopes HS (1987) Second contribution to the knowledge of the larvae of the Raviniini (Diptera, Sarcophagidae) based on observations using scanning electron microscope. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 82:219–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lopes HS, Leite AC (1986) Studies on some features of the first instar larvae of Oxysarcodexia (Diptera, Sarcophagidae) based on scanning electron microscope observations. Rev Bras Biol 46:741–746Google Scholar
  30. Lopes HS, Leite ACR (1987) Third contribution to the knowledge of the Raviniini (Diptera, Sarcophagidae), based on observations of the larvae, using scanning electron microscope. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 82:407–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Marchenko MI (2001) Medicolegal relevance of cadaver entomofauna for the determination of the time of death. Forensic Sci Int 120:89–109CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Moribayashi A, Shudo C, Kurahashi H (2001) Latitudinal variation in the incidence of pupal diapause in Asian and Oceanian populations of the flesh fly, Boettcherisca peregrina (Ditptera: Sarcophagidae). Med Entomol Zoo 52:263–238Google Scholar
  33. Moribayashi A, Hiraoka T, Kurahashi H, Agui N (2002) Pupal diapause induction in larvae destined for non-diapause of the flesh fly, Boettcherisca peregrina (Diptera: Sarcophagidae). Med Entomol Zool 53(suppl 2):279–288Google Scholar
  34. Moursy LE (1997) Insecticidal activity of Calotropis procera extracts of the flesh fly, Sarcophaga haemorrhoidalis Fallen. J Egypt Soc Parasitol 27:505–514PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Musvasva E, Williams KA, Muller WJ, Villet MH (2001) Preliminary observations on the effects of hydrocortisone and sodium methohexital on development of Sarcophaga (Curranea) tibialis Macquart (Diptera: Sarcophagidae), and implications for estimating post mortem interval. Forensic Sci Int 120:37–41CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Nolte KB, Pinder RD, Lord WD (1992) Insect larvae used to detect cocaine poisoning in a decomposed body. J Forensic Sci 37:1179–1185PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Pape T (1996) Catalogue of the sarcophagidae of the world (Insecta: Diptera). Associated, GainesvilleGoogle Scholar
  38. Perez-Moreno S, Marcos-Garcia MA, Rojo S (2006) Comparative morphology of early stages of two Mediterranean Sarcophaga Meigen, 1826 (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) and a review of the feeding habits of Palaearctic species. Micron 37:169–179CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Rinehart JP, Cikra-Ireland RA, Flannagan RD, Denlinger DL (2001) Expression of ecdysone receptor is unaffected by pupal diapause in the flesh fly, Sarcophaga crassipalpis, while its dimerization partner, USP, is downregulated. J Insect Physiol 47:915–921CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ruiz-Martinez I, Soler-Cruz MD, Benitez-Rodriguez R, Perez-Jimenez JM, Diaz-Lopez M (1989) Postembryonic development of Wohlfahrtia magnifica (Schiner, 1862) (Diptera: Sarcophagidae). J Parasitol 75:531–539CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Schroeder H, Klotzbach H, Puschel K (2003) Insects' colonization of human corpses in warm and cold season. Leg Med (Tokyo) 5(Suppl 1):S372–S374Google Scholar
  42. Senior-White R, Aubertin D, Smart J (1940) The fauna of British India, including the remainder of the Oriental region, Diptera. VI. Family Calliphoridae. Taylor and Francis, LondonGoogle Scholar
  43. Sharanowski BJ, Walker EG, Anderson GS (2008) Insect succession and decomposition patterns on shaded and sunlit carrion in Saskatchewan in three different seasons. Forensic Sci Int 179:219–240CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Sukontason K, Sukontason K, Vichairat K, Piangjai S, Lertthamnongtham S, Vogtsberger RC, Olson JK (2001) The first documented forensic entomology case in Thailand. J Med Entomol 38:746–748CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Sukontason K, Sukontason KL, Piangjai S (2003) Scanning electron microscopy of third-instar sarcophagid (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) recovered from a mummified human corpse in Thailand. Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo 45:95–98PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Sukontason K, Sukontason KL, Ngern-klun R, Sripakdee D, Piangjai S (2004) Differentiation of the third instar of forensically important fly species in Thailand. Ann Entomol Soc Am 97:1069–1075CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sukontason K, Narongchai P, Kanchai C, Vichairat K, Sribanditmongkol P, Bhoopat T, Kurahashi H, Chockjamsai M, Piangjai S, Bunchu N, Vongvivach S, Samai W, Chaiwong T, Methanitikorn R, Ngern-klun R, Sripakdee D, Boonsriwong W, Siriwattanarungsee S, Srimuangwong C, Hanterdsith B, Chaiwan K, Srisuwan C, Upakut S, Moopayak K, Vogtsberger RC, Olson JK, Sukontason KL (2007) Forensic entomology cases in Thailand: a review of cases from 2000 to 2006. Parasitol Res 101:1417–1123CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Tomberlin JK, Adler PH (1998) Seasonal colonization and decomposition of rat carrion in water and on land in an open field in South Carolina. J Med Entomol 35:704–709PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Tumrasvin W, Kano R (1979) Studies on medically important flies in Thailand. VI. Report on 48 species of Sarcophagid flies, including the taxonomic keys (Diptera: Sarcophagidae). Bull Tokyo Med Dent Univ 26:149–179PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Velasquez Y (2008) A checklist of arthropods associated with rat carrion in a montane locality of northern Venezuela. Forensic Sci Int 174:68–70CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Villet MH, MacKenzie B, Muller WJ (2006) Larval development of the carrion-breeding flesh fly, Sarcophaga (Liosarcophaga) tibialis Macquart (Diptera: Sarcophagidae), at constant temperatures. Afr Entomol 14:357–66Google Scholar
  52. Wells JD, Pape T, Sperling FAH (2001) DNA-based identification and molecular systematics of forensically important sarcophagidae (Diptera). J Forensic Sci 46:1098–1102PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Zehner R, Amendt J, Schutt S, Sauer J, Krettek R, Povolny D (2004) Genetic identification of forensically important flesh flies (Diptera: Sarcophagidae). Int J Legal Med 118:245–247CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kom Sukontason
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nophawan Bunchu
    • 2
  • Tarinee Chaiwong
    • 3
  • Kittikhun Moophayak
    • 1
  • Kabkaew L. Sukontason
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Parasitology, Faculty of MedicineChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Medical ScienceNaresuan UniversityMuangThailand
  3. 3.College of Medicine and Public HealthUbon Ratchathani UniversityWarinchamrapThailand

Personalised recommendations