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The green bottle fly, Lucilia sericata, is a forensically important organism that is used to determine post-mortem interval (PMI) in deceased individuals. Insect colonization and species succession on decaying organic material are well-characterized events with Lucilia sericata being one of the first species to colonize. Forensic methods for determination of PMI using insect developmental stages have been developed based on laboratory methods for culture of insect species but there is no standard method for laboratory culture of Lucilia with respect to diet. This study focuses on the role of diet in the development of the blow fly, Lucilia sericata. Flies were reared using three common laboratory dietary regimens: 1. Honey-Water and Water, 2. Liver and Water, and 3. Granular Sucrose and Water. For each dietary treatment, three replicate cages of 15 male flies and 15 female flies were run simultaneously. Developmental metrics were recorded (survivorship, number of eggs oviposited per event, and number of oviposition events) over the course of the study and data were analyzed to determine which diet was most efficient for fly maintenance and reproduction. Analyses revealed that flies fed honey-water and water lived an average of 37 days but did not lay any eggs. Flies fed liver and water lived an average of 22 days and laid an average of 300 eggs per cage. Flies fed sucrose flies lived an average of 30 days, but similar to the honey-water treatment, no eggs were laid. These results indicate that a protein source is necessary for the female egg production and support the premise that standard laboratory culture methods are a critical link between establishment of a standard developmental life cycle pattern and application of life cycle staging in forensic determination of PMI. Future research will focus on refinement of a standard balanced laboratory diet.

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Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Karolyn M. Hansen

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium poster

Effects of Dietary Regimen on Lifespan and Fecundity of Blow Fly, Lucilia sericata (Diptera: Calliphoridae)