Thursday, 4 July 2013

Invasive Fly Species Continues to Move Northward

July 2, 2013 — 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).

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.

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