Volume 45, Issue 6 (November 2000)
Comparison of Patterns of Decomposition in a Hanging Carcass and a Carcass in Contact with Soil in a Xerophytic Habitat on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii
Decomposition studies were conducted to determine differences in rates and patterns of decomposition of carcasses hanging and exposed on the surface of the soil. These studies were conducted between 17 October and 17 December 1997 inside of Diamond Head Crater on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The animal model was the domestic pig, Sus scrofa. The rate of biomass removal from the hanging carcass was significantly slower than that observed for the control carcass during the bloat and decay stages of decomposition. Internal temperatures for the control carcass were elevated above the ambient air temperatures during the earlier stages of decomposition (bloated and decay), while those recorded for the hanging carcass approximated the ambient air temperatures. There was a greater diversity of arthropod species recorded and numbers of individuals observed were higher for the control carcass. A significant site of arthropod activity was observed on the surface of the soil immediately under the hanging carcass and this became the primary site of arthropod activity as decomposition progressed.