Volume 39, Issue 1 (January 1994)
The Black Soldier Fly Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) As a Potential Measure of Human Postmortem Interval: Observations and Case Histories
The black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (L.), has been shown to be a ubiquitous inhabitant of both surface and buried human remains throughout the southern, central and western United States and Hawaii. Unlike most other species of forensically important Diptera, this species frequently dominates bodies in the dry/post decay stage of decomposition. Adults of the black soldier fly appear to initiate oviposition (egg laying) 20 to 30 days postmortem. Even at warm temperatures (27.8°C), subsequent completion of the life cycle can require an additional 55 days. Life history data for H. illucens, when used in combination with data for other cohabiting arthropod species and viewed in the context of local environmental conditions, can provide medicolegal investigators with valuable parameters for estimating the postmortem intervals for badly decomposed remains.