Parasitology Research

, Volume 111, Issue 5, pp 2179–2187 | Cite as

Interaction effects of temperature and food on the development of forensically important fly, Megaselia scalaris (Loew) (Diptera: Phoridae)

  • Raja Muhammad ZuhaEmail author
  • Tasnim Abdul Razak
  • Nazni Wasi Ahmad
  • Baharudin Omar
Original Paper


In forensic entomology, breeding of fly larvae in a controlled laboratory environment using animal tissue is a common technique to obtain insect developmental time for the estimation of postmortem interval. Previous studies on growth media are mostly on the effect of different diets on fly development. However, the interaction effects between temperature and food type used have not been explored. The objective of this study was to compare the use of cow's liver agar and raw liver on the development of a forensically important fly, Megaselia scalaris (Loew). This study also determined the interaction between different temperatures and different food types on the growth of this species. A total of 100 M. scalaris eggs were transferred into each of the two media mentioned above. Liver agar was prepared by adding dried ground liver into nutrient agar, whilst raw liver was naturally prepared from the same animal source. This experiment was conducted at 27, 30 and 33 °C in an incubator in a continuously dark condition. Length and weight of larvae, puparia and adult samples were determined. Total developmental times for larvae feeding on liver agar at each temperature were approximately 7–15 h slower than those feeding on raw liver. Survival rates were almost equal in both diets but were lower at 33 °C. Mean larva length in both diets did not differ significantly at all temperatures, but larvae feeding on liver agar had lower mean weight values than those in raw liver at 30 and 33 °C. The effect of temperature was significant in female puparia weight and male adult weight whereas the effect of diet types was significant in both male and female puparia size and weight. Interaction effects of temperature and food type on M. scalaris puparium size and adult weight were significant, indicating that puparium size and adult weight depended on both food type and temperature. This experiment highlighted the use of cow's liver agar as an alternative diet to breed M. scalaris in the laboratory and the importance of considering the interaction effect between temperatures and food types when deciding the most suitable medium in fly larva rearing.


Developmental Time Food Type Developmental Rate Adult Weight Liver Agar 
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.



We would like to thank the head of the Forensic Science Program, Associate Professor Dr. Khairul Osman, School of Diagnostic and Applied Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia), for providing facilities and equipment in this research.


  1. Adams ZJO, Hall MJR (2003) Method used for the killing and preservation of blowfly larvae, and their effect on post-mortem larval length. Forensic Sci Int 138:50–61PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen P, Bennett K (2008) SPSS for the Health & Behavioural Sciences. Thomson, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  3. Amendt J, Campobasso CP, Gaudry E, Reiter C, LeBlanc HN, Hall MJR (2007) Best practice in forensic entomology—standards and guidelines. Int J Leg Med 121:90–104. doi: 10.1007/s00414-006-0086-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Amorim JA, Ribeiro OB (2001) Distinction among the puparia of three blowfly species (Diptera: Calliphoridae) frequently found on unburied corpses. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 96:1–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Amoudi MA, Diab FM, Abou-Fannah SSM (1989) The occurence of Megaselia scalaris (Loew) (Diptera: Phoridae) in Saudi Arabia with some aspects on the life history and distribution in Riyadh province. J King Saud Univ 1:43–51Google Scholar
  6. Biery TL, Clegern RW, Hart WW (1979) Two cases of phorid (Diptera: Phoridae) myiasis in Texas. J Med Entomol 15(2):122–123PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Boatright SA, Tomberlin JK (2010) Effect of temperature and tissue type on the development of Cochliomyia macellaria (Diptera: Calliphoridae). J Med Entomol 47(5):917–923PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Byrd JH, Butler JF (1997) Effects of temperature on Chrysomya rufifacies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) development. J Med Entomol 34(3):353–358PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Campobasso CP, Disney RHL, Introna F (2004) A case of Megaselia scalaris (Loew) (Dipt., Phoridae) breeding in a human corpse. Aggrawal's Internet J For Med Toxicol 5(1):3–5Google Scholar
  10. Clark K, Evans L, Wall R (2006) Growth rates of the blowfly, Lucilia sericata, on different body tissues. Forensic Sci Int 156:145–149PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Daniels S, Simkiss K, Smith RH (1991) A simple larval diet for population studies on the blowfly Lucilia sericata (Diptera: Calliphoridae). Med Vet Entomol 5:283–292PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Davies L, Ratcliffe GG (1994) Development rates of some pre-adult stages in blowflies with reference to low temperatures. Med Vet Entomol 8:245–254PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Disney RHL (1989) Scuttle flies, Diptera, Phoridae, Genus Megaselia, vol 10. Handbooks for the identification of British insects, vol 8. British Museum (Natural History), LondonGoogle Scholar
  14. Disney RHL (1994) Scuttle flies: the Phoridae. Cambridge University Press, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Disney RHL (2005) Duration of development of two species of carrion-breeding scuttle flies and forensic implications. Med Vet Entomol 19:229–235PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Disney RHL (2008) Natural history of the scuttle fly, Megaselia scalaris. Annu Rev Entomol 53:39–60PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Disney RHL, Sinclair BJ (2008) Some scuttle flies (Diptera: Phoridae) of the Galapagos Islands. Tijdschr Entomol 151(115–132)Google Scholar
  18. Donovan SE, Hall MJR, Turner BD, Moncrieff CB (2006) Larval growth rates of the blowfly, Calliphora vicina, over a range of temperatures. Med Vet Entomol 20:106–114PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gabre RM, Adham FK, Chi H (2005) Life table of Chrysomya megacephala (Fabricius) (Diptera: Calliphoridae). Acta Oecol 27:179–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Grassberger M, Friedrich E, Reiter C (2003) The blowfly Chrysomya albiceps (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) as a new forensic indicator in Central Europe. Int J Leg Med 117:75–81Google Scholar
  21. Green PWC, Simmonds MSJ, Blaney WM (2003) Diet nutriment and rearing density affect the growth of black blowfly larvae, Phormia regina (Diptera: Calliphoridae). Eur J Entomol 100:39–42Google Scholar
  22. 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(3):205–209PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Harrison DA, Cooper RL (2003) Characterization of development, behavior and neuromuscular physiology in the phorid fly, Megaselia scalaris. Comp Biochem Physiol 136(Part A):427–439Google Scholar
  24. Idris AB, Abdullah M, Lin TP (2001) Effect of various diets on the development of scuttle fly, Megaselia scalaris (Loew) (Diptera: Phoridae), larvae and pupae and percent of adult emergence and longevity. Pak J Biol Sci 4(3):321–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kaneshrajah G, Turner B (2004) Calliphora vicina larvae grow at different rates on different body tissues. Int J Leg Med 2004(118):242–244. doi: 10.1007/s00414-004-0444-5 Google Scholar
  26. Leal TTDS, Prado AP, Antunes AJ (1982) Rearing the larvae of the blowfly Chrysomya chloropyga (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) on oligidic diets. Rev Bras Entomol 1(1):41–44Google Scholar
  27. Leal TTS, Antunes AJ, Prado APD (1991) Growth of Chrysomya putoria blowfly larvae in relation to dietary casein concetration. Med Vet Entomol 5:139–141PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Prawirodisastro M, Benjamin DM (1979) Laboratory study on the biology and ecology of Megaselia scalaris (Diptera: Phoridae). J Med Entomol 16(4):317–320PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Reibe S, Madea B (2010) Use of Megaselia scalaris (Diptera: Phoridae) for post-mortem interval estimation indoors. Parasitol Res 106:637–640PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ribeiro CS, Zuben CJV (2010) Nutritional ecology of blowflies (Diptera, Calliphoridae): estimates of critical larval weight for pupation on two different diets. Rev Bras Entomol 54(4):661–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Richards CS, Paterson ID, Villet MH (2008) Estimating the age of immature Chrysomya albiceps (Diptera: Calliphoridae), correcting for temperature and geographical latitude. Int J Leg Med 122:271–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sherman RA, Tran JM-T (1995) A simple, sterile food source for rearing the larvae of Lucilia sericata (Diptera: Calliphoridae). Med Vet Entomol 9:393–398PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Singh P (1977) Artificial foods for the bat-fly Mystacinobia zelandica Holloway (Diptera: Mystacinobiidae). N Z J Zool 4:331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Smith KGV (1970) A. The nature and succession of interverbrate fauna. In: Easton AM, Smith KGV (eds) The entomology of the cadaver. The Eastern Press Ltd., LondonGoogle Scholar
  35. Sukontason KL, Sukontason K, Lertthamnongtham S, Boonchu N (2002) Surface ultrastructure of third-instar Megaselia scalaris (Diptera: Phoridae). Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 97(5):663–665PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sukontason KL, Boonsriwong W, Siriwattanarungsee S, Piangjai S, Sukontason K (2006) Morphology of puparia of Megaselia scalaris (Diptera: Phoridae) a fly species of medical and forensic importance. Parasitol Res 98:268–272PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 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-Klurn 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 101:1417–1423PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Thevan K, Disney RHL, Ahmad AH (2010) First records of two species of Oriental scuttle flies (Diptera: Phoridae) from forensic cases. Forensic Sci Int 195:e5–e7PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Triplehorn CA, Johnson NF (2005) Borror and DeLong's introduction to the study of insects, 7th edn. Thomson Brooks/Cole, BelmontGoogle Scholar
  40. Trumble JT, Pienkowski RL (1979) Development and survival of Megaselia scalaris (Diptera: Phoridae) at selected temperatures and photoperiods. Proc Entomol Soc Wash 81(2):207–210Google Scholar
  41. Tumrasvin W, Sucharit S, Vutikes S (1977) Studies on the life history of Megaselia scalaris (Loew) in Thailand. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health 8(1):74–76PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Wakid MH (2008) A laboratory-based study for first documented case of urinary myiasis caused by larvae of Megaselia scalaris (Loew) (Diptera: Phoridae) in Saudi Arabia. Korean J Parasitol 46(1):33–36PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wells JD, Kurahashi H (1994) Chrysomya megacephala (Fabricius) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) development: rate, variation and the implications for forensic entomology. Jpn J Sanit Zool 45(4):303–309Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raja Muhammad Zuha
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tasnim Abdul Razak
    • 1
  • Nazni Wasi Ahmad
    • 2
  • Baharudin Omar
    • 3
  1. 1.Forensic Science Program, School of Diagnostics and Applied Health Sciences, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia)Kuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Medical Entomology Unit, Infectious Diseases Research CentreInstitute for Medical ResearchKuala LumpurMalaysia
  3. 3.Biomedical Science Program, School of Diagnostics and Applied Health Sciences, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia)Kuala LumpurMalaysia

Personalised recommendations