Volume 43, Issue 3 (May 1998)
Arthropod Succession Patterns onto Burnt Carrion in Two Contrasting Habitats in the Hawaiian Islands
Decomposition studies were conducted using carcasses of domestic pigs, Sus scrofa L., one burned and the other unburned (the control) to determine effects of burning on arthropod succession patterns. The burnt carcass corresponded to a CGS level #2 burn victim. The studies were conducted in two contrasting habitats, both on the island of Oahu. The first was conducted in a xerophytic habitat from 1 Sept. 1995 through 1 Oct. 1995 while the second was conducted in a rainforest habitat from 29 April 1996 to 28 May 1996. No marked differences were noted in arthropod fauna present or the duration of the stages of decomposition between the carcasses at either site. The major oviposition by flies of the family Calliphoridae occurred one day carlier on the burnt carcass than the control carcass at Diamond Head and four days earlier at Lyon Arboretum. This resulted in all successional waves onto the burnt carcass occurring one day earlier at Diamond Head and four days earlier at Lyon Arboretum. These differences could alter a postmortem interval estimate based on arthropod succession patterns by up to 24 hours and 4 days, respectively.