Volume 44, Issue 1 (January 1999)
Insect Succession on Buried Carrion in Two Biogeoclimatic Zones of British Columbia
We established a database of insect succession on buried carrion in two biogeoclimatic zones of British Columbia over a 16-month period beginning June 1995. Pig (Sus scrofa L.) carcasses were buried shortly after death in the Coastal Western Hemlock and Sub-boreal Spruce biogeoclimatic zones of British Columbia. Buried pigs exhibited a distinct pattern of succession from that which occurred on above-ground carrion. The species composition and time of colonization for particular species differed between the two zones. Therefore ideally, a database of insect succession on burried carrion should be established for each major biogeoclimatic zone. We did not observe maggot masses on any of the buried carcasses; therefore, the presence of maggot masses may indicate a delayed burial. Soil temperature was a better indicator of internal buried carcass temperature (r2 = 0.92, p < 0.0001) than was ambient air temperature (r2 = 0.60, p < 0.0001); thus soil temperature should be used to determine developmental rates of insects for determination of the postmortem interval by a forensic entomologist.