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!
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
26.04.2018 | Life Sciences
26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering