The local discovery of a species of fly not native to the Midwest could have significant implications on forensic investigations involving decomposing remains, according to a forensic biology researcher at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).
This new fly species, Chrysomya Megacephala, is not native to Indiana but was found last fall in Indianapolis. Its discovery could impact forensic investigations.
Christine Picard, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology in the School of Science at IUPUI, discovered the fly, Chrysomya megacephala Fabricius (C. megacephala), during a routine collection of fly samples in late September 2012. Until now, entomologists had never documented the fly farther north than New Mexico.
“Although I only found a single fly of this species, this is an important event in the area of forensics,” said Picard, also a faculty member in the Forensic and Investigative Sciences program at IUPUI. “Because this fly is not typically found here, we don’t know how it develops here, how to use that data or how it could affect the precision and accuracy of forensic investigations.”
The growth and development of flies play an important role for scientists looking to learn how long a human or other animal has been dead. When a new species is introduced, scientists or investigators may be at a disadvantage because of the little data that exists locally on that species.
C. megacephala breeds in the decomposing flesh of animals or discarded organic materials and has the potential to carry disease. Its existence could negatively impact the native species of flies as well, changing the dynamics of this highly specialized ecosystem.
“This discovery tells us as researchers that there is a new fly we have to consider, especially when we’re processing casework samples.” Picard said.
The fly specimen currently is stored at the Purdue University Entomological Collection, and it is the only one of its kind in its vast inventory. Picard’s discovery will be published in the July edition of the Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington journal.
This particular fly, native to Asia and Africa, first was documented in 1988 in the United States. Until now, it had been contained to the southern states, where the warmer climate allows it to grow and breed. The mild winter and long, drought-stricken summer of 2012 in Indiana likely contributed to the fly moving this far north, Picard said.
As average temperatures continue to increase, Picard predicts this will not be the last time Indiana sees this fly.
“This fly has the potential to become a dominant fly species in this area,” Picard said. “The changing climate conditions show us that we should never really stop collecting samples. We will be on the lookout this summer for more of this particular fly.”
David Hosick | EurekAlert!
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy