Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Forensic Entomology

  • Robert D. Hall
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_3871

Forensic entomology is the intersection between insect science and the legal system. Although most recent attention has focused on the subspecialty known as “medicocriminal entomology,” where insect development and succession on a corpse are used to estimate how long the decedent has been dead, there are additional areas where entomology is of legal interest.

Urban entomology includes a variety of important insects with legal implications. Obviously, termites and the damage they cause are at the center of many legal controversies. Other wood-destroying insects, such as powder post beetles, can have similar effects. Dermestid larvae can damage or destroy hides, animal specimens, and furs. Clothes moth larvae can damage stored garments. All of these situations may result in lawsuits.

Another legal implication under the rubric of urban entomology is nuisance. Although often paradoxically rural in nature, flies and other insects emanating from livestock or poultry facilities can annoy...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Byrd JH, Castner JL (eds) (2000) Forensic entomology: the utility of arthropods in legal investigations. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 418 ppCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Catts EP, Haskell NH (eds) (1990) Entomology and death: a procedural guide. Joyce’s, Clemson, South CarolinaGoogle Scholar
  3. Catts EP, Goff ML (1992) Forensic entomology in criminal investigations. Ann Rev Entomol 37:253–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hall RD, Haskell NH (1995) Forensic entomology: applications in medicolegal investigations. Chapter 25C in Wecht C (ed) Forensic sciences. Matthew Bender, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  5. Smith KGV (1986) A manual of forensic entomology. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NYGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert D. Hall
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA