High Temperature Limits of Survival and Oviposition of Phormia regina (Meigen) and Lucilia sericata (Meigen)

Michael A. Monzon, Lauren M. Weidner, Travis W. Rusch, Selen Nehrozoglu, George Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The temperature dependent development rates of blow flies allow blow flies to be used as biological clocks in forensic death investigations. However, the upper thermal limits of adult survival and oviposition, both required for producing larvae, remains largely unknown. Therefore, in this study we examined the impact of a range of temperatures between 37 °C and 44 °C on the likelihood of survival and egg-laying behavior of two species of medicolegal forensic importance, Lucilia sericata (Meigen) and Phormia regina (Meigen) (Diptera: Calliphoridae). To quantify the upper temperature limits of survival, adult fly colonies were exposed to 37 °C, 41 °C, 42 °C, 43 °C, and 44 °C for 24 h. Similarly for oviposition trials, adults of both species were exposed to 40 °C, 42 °C, and 43 °C with P. regina oviposition also observed at 41 °C. Trials lasted for 24 h with oviposition substrate replenished at the 12 h mark. A yes/no determination on egg deposition was made, eggs were counted, and a yes/no determination was made on egg hatch. Survival did not differ by species (p = 0.096). Overall, survival decreased with increasing temperatures, with ~100% at 37 °C, ~50% at 41 °C, ~37% at 42 °C, ~15% at 43 °C and 0% at 44 °C. Lucilia sericata laid eggs capable of hatch up to 43 °C, while Phormia regina egg-hatch was observed up to 41 °C. These results indicate a greater thermal tolerance of adult survival than for egg deposition and successful egg hatch, which supports previous experiments indicating blow flies stop laying eggs at sub-lethal temperatures. Furthermore, these data indicate that adult blow flies may find remains at or near time of death but may delay egg deposition until temperatures drop below an acceptable threshold.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number991
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • fecundity
  • mortality
  • oviposition
  • survivorship
  • thermal biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


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