Principle of criminal entomology
As soon as a body dies, insects colonise the cadaver where they find food and a place to live. Several "waves" of populations of insects succeed each other over time (over the days, weeks and months). Experts know about these. Identifying them when a cadaver is discovered, allows experts to determine which wave they belong to and therefore to approximately date the time of death.
The criminal entomology technique
As soon as the body is discovered insects in the form of eggs, larvae and adults and even dead insects, are taken and sent to the laboratory for analysis. The two essential components are :
- farming the insects to estimate the time required for them to evolve to the higher developmental stage and therefore to determine when they arrived on the cadaver;
- identification of insects by minute observation.
The fly Sarcophaga carnaria lays its eggs on dead animals. © Jean-Jacques Milan, Wikimedia, GFDL 1.2
Criminal entomology - 1 Photo