Research the use of the blowfly in determining postmortem interval.


Forensic entomology (FE) is the study of insects as it relates to criminal or civil investigations. In criminal cases, it is used to determine postmortem interval. In civil cases, FE may be used because of the introduction of insects into a consumer product or infestation of a structure. A blowfly is an insect commonly used to aid in the determination of postmortem interval.

Research the use of the blowfly in determining postmortem interval.

  • Describe the stages of the life cycle of the blowfly?
  • How long is its life cycle (hours/days/weeks/years)?
  • How does temperature and moisture affect the length of the blowfly’s life cycle?
  • When time of death is in question, what is the process by which a forensic entomologist would collect samples?
  • What other information must an FE gather at the scene during the investigation?
  • What does the FE attempt to accomplish after gathering samples and information and bringing the items back to the laboratory?
  • How does the infestation of the blowfly affect the rate of decomposition?
  • After certain lengths of time, other insects infest the remains of a body. Provide examples of the other insects that do this. What are the time intervals in which infestation occurs?

The following guidelines will be used for grading:

25% The student must provide a detailed account of the life cycle of the blowfly, including the life stages, length of the life cycle, and factors that affect this length.
35% The student must provide collection techniques, including the process of sample collection and further information a forensic entomologist must gather during an investigation.
25% The student should explain laboratory procedures used by the FE, including how the infestation of the blowfly affects the rate of decomposition.
15% The student should give examples of other insects that infest remains and the time intervals in which this takes place.

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