Establishing Lower Developmental Thresholds for a Common BlowFly – For use in Estimating Elapsed Time since Death using Entomological Methods


  1. Anderson, G.
  2. Warren, J.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Security Science, Ottawa ONT (CAN);Simon Fraser University, Burnaby BC (CAN) Centre for Forensic Research - School of Criminology
Forensic entomology is a science used to estimate a post-mortem interval (PMI). Larvae develop at predictable rates and the time interval for this development can be used to estimate the PMI. Environmental temperatures are not constant and fluctuate with the photoperiod. In early and late insect seasons, temperatures can drop to below threshold temperatures where development essentially ceases. Threshold temperatures differ for different species and should be determined by raising insects at the extremely low temperatures. The lower threshold temperature for Protophormia terraenovae for egg hatch is 10.3°C ; for first instar larvae to molt to second instar larvae it is 10.7°; it falls between 10.7 and 11°C to reach third instar, and is 11°C to reach post feeding third instar larvae. In order to pupate, the temperature threshold falls between 11.5 and 11.7°C and adult emergence is completed only at temperatures above 11.7°C. It was shown that if P. terraenovae was raised at a higher temperature for a period of time and only exposed to temperatures below thresholds at a later larval stage, development could continue.

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Forensic Entomology;Post-Mortem Interval;Time of Death;Blow Fly;Carrion insects;Evidence, Criminal;Larvae
Report Number
DRDC-CSS-CR-2011-23 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
01 Oct 2011
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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