Taking a Look at Forensic Entomology Essay examples

Taking a Look at Forensic Entomology Essay examples

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Forensic entomology is the study of insects in relation to a deceased person, and has proven useful in the field of forensic science, due to the versatility in how these insects are analyzed. The defined life cycle of certain insects allows for the various stages of development to be used in determining time of death, whether the body has been moved, and many other elements of a crime (James, Nordby, 2005). Insects can be analyzed by their stage in the lifecycle, what region they come from, what they have ingested when feeding, etcetera. As useful as insects have proven in investigations, they also have the ability to contaminate crime scenes and cause problems for forensic investigators.
The most common insect used for identifying time of death in the field of forensic entomology is the blow fly, because they are most often the first insect to colonize the body (James, Nordby 2005). Blow flies arrive at a body within ten minutes of catching its scent and lay their eggs soon after (Shipman 2011). The average lifecycle of a blow fly is “16 to 35 days, depending on temperature and environmental conditions” and begins with the larval stage (Texas A&M). The larval stage itself is divided into first, second, and third instar stages (James, Nordby 2005). A first instar larvae are weak and lack the mouthparts necessary to break skin, so the female blow fly will deposit her eggs near an open wound or the natural orifices of the body, where the larvae can feed on the liquids present (James, Nordby 2005). Second instar larvae are stronger, larger, and have special proteolytic enzymes they use to enter the body (James, Nordby 2005). Proteolytic enzymes are “any of a group of enzymes that break the long chainlike molecules of proteins into sh...

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...., & Nordby, J. J. (2005). Forensic science: An introduction to scientific and
investigative techniques. (2nd ed., pp. 138-143, 143-144). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
North Carolina State University. (2013). Blow flies. Retrieved from
Shipman, M. (2011, 11 01). Digging up clues: Research on buried blow flies will help crime
scene investigators. Retrieved from http://news.ncsu.edu/releases/wmswatsonblowfly/
Shipman, M. (Photographer) (2011). Digging up clues: Research on buried blow flies will help
crime scene investigators [Print]. Available from
Sparks, D., Oeltgen, P., Kryscio, R., & Hunsaker, J. (1989). Comparison of chemical methods
for determining postmortem interval. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 34(1), 197-206.
Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2918279

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