Journal Published Online: 01 January 1999
Volume 44, Issue 1

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.

Author Information

VanLaerhoven, SL
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Anderson, GS
School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., Canada
Pages: 12
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Stock #: JFS14409J
ISSN: 0022-1198
DOI: 10.1520/JFS14409J