An Analysis of Forensically Important Insects Associated with Human Remains in Indiana, U.S.A.*

Lauren M. Weidner, Gregory Nigoghosian, Kelie C. Yoho, Jonathan J. Parrott, Krystal R. Hans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Research documenting insect colonization of human remains is limited in North America, and currently nonexistent for the American Midwest. Such research is essential for forensic entomologists to identify species of research interest in a region. In this study, we collected insects from human remains in 24 cases across Indiana from June 2016 through September 2018. We analyzed species composition across scene type and season. Eight species of blow flies were collected as larvae from human remains, with Phormia regina and Lucilia sericata as the two predominant colonizers. Phormia regina was the most numerous species collected from outdoor scenes (73.6% of total collections) while L. sericata was the most numerous from the indoor scenes (60.4% of total collections). With scene types pooled, Calliphora vicina and Cochliomya macellaria were the predominant species in the fall (55.6% and 42.2%, respectively); P. regina was the dominant colonizer in the spring (68.6%); and P. regina and L. sericata were the predominant colonizers (46.5% and 44.4%, respectively) in the summer. In addition to these findings, we confirmed the first record of Lucilia cuprina colonizing human remains in Indiana having collected this species from three cases. A single adult Chrysomya megacephala was collected from an indoor scene in southern Indiana, which represents its second collection in the state. Beetles belonging to the families Staphylinidae, Silphidae, Histeridae, Cleridae, Trogidae, Dermestdae, and Nitidulidae were also collected from two outdoor scenes. This study provides important baseline data for forensic entomologists in Indiana, as well as surrounding states with similar environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2036-2041
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Calliphora vicina
  • Calliphoridae
  • Cochliomyia macellaria
  • Cocliomya macellaria
  • Lucilia cuprina
  • Lucilia sericata
  • Phormia regina
  • blow flies
  • forensic entomology
  • human remains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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