Title

Tracking movement and temperature selection of larvae of two forensically important blow fly species within a "maggot mass"

RIS ID

96282

Publication Details

Johnson, A. P., Wighton, S. J. & Wallman, J. F. (2014). Tracking movement and temperature selection of larvae of two forensically important blow fly species within a "maggot mass". Journal of Forensic Sciences, 59 (6), 1586-1591.

Abstract

The current study responds to the lack of understanding about the temperatures experienced by individual blow fly larvae within "maggot masses." The temperature selection of both aggregating (in a mass) and nonaggregating larvae was compared and their pattern of movement assessed. Infrared imaging determined the temperatures within a mass and in the vicinity of the constituent individual larvae, whose movements were tracked by dyeing their tissues red. Individual Chrysomya rufifacies larvae selected temperatures above 27°C, significantly higher than the temperature selected by Calliphora vicina larvae (24.5°C). However, this same difference was not seen within a mass, with both species selecting temperatures around 28°C. Larval movement in a mass was nonrandom, indicating that larvae actively select their position in a mass. Furthermore, larvae have a strong tendency to select the hottest part of a mass; therefore, maximum mass temperatures might provide a reliable proxy for the actual temperatures experienced by larvae.

Grant Number

ARC/LP0883711

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