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Ants associated with a rat carcass: its implications in forensic entomology with special emphasis on Carebara diversa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Abstract

The arthropod succession on carrion plays a forensically important role in estimating minimum post-mortem intervals (mPMIs). Among these arthropods, flies and beetles are the major arthropod community associated with carrion decomposition. However, there are other insects that can also be found on carcasses during decomposition. In the current study, activities of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) were observed during the decomposition of a rat carcass, which was placed on the surface of the soil within the vicinity of Universiti Teknologi MARA, Sungai Buloh, Selangor. Ants were observed to directly affect the decomposition process by feeding on the rat carcass. We collected four species of ants from the rat carcass: Carebara diversa (Jerdon 1851) (both soldier and worker castes), Brachyponera luteipes (Mayr1862), Anoplolepis gracilipes (Smith, F. 1857) and Monomorium floricola (Jerdon 1851). Among these species, C. diversa was observed to cover the whole rat carcass with soil particles, which then subsequently prevented oviposition or colonization by flies and beetles.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Institute for Medical Molecular Biotechnology (IMMB), and Laboratory Animal Care Unit (LACU) for the facilities provided in this research. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies.

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Correspondence to Chong Chin Heo.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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We procured a dead rat from the laboratory animal care unit of Universiti Teknologi MARA for this experiment. Hence, ethical consideration was not required.

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Singh, S., Abdullah, N.A.B., Carbaugh, J. et al. Ants associated with a rat carcass: its implications in forensic entomology with special emphasis on Carebara diversa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Int J Trop Insect Sci 40, 703–706 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42690-020-00110-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42690-020-00110-1

Keywords

  • Rat carcass
  • Carebara diversa
  • mPMI
  • Malaysia
  • Formicidae
  • Forensic entomology