Survival and development of the forensically important blow fly, Calliphora varifrons (Diptera: Calliphoridae) at constant temperatures

S.C. Voss, D.F. Cook, Wei-Feng Hung, Ian Dadour

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The influence of temperature on the development of the forensically important blow fly, Calliphora varifrons Malloch 1932 (Diptera: Calliphoridae), was investigated at seven constant temperatures ranging from 12 to 30 °C. C. varifrons completed development between 12 and 27 °C. At 30 °C larvae formed pupae but did not successfully emerge. Temperature significantly influenced development time, mortality, maximum larval length, and adult body size. Development time (larviposition to adult emergence) ranged from 16.65 ± 0.17 days at 27 °C to 49.93 ± 0.26 days at 12 °C. Development rate was essentially linear throughout the 12-27 °C temperature range. Linear estimates of lower developmental threshold and thermal requirement (K) for development of C. varifrons were 4.20 °C and 368.46 ± 26.38 K. At 30 °C, a slight inhibitory effect of high temperature on third instar development rate was observed followed by a rapid decline when subsequent development and survival ceased. Nonlinear estimates of lower developmental threshold for third instar development were comparatively higher (6.29 °C). Nonlinear estimates of optimal developmental temperature and upper lethal developmental threshold were 25.94 and 32.13 °C respectively. Mortality was high at both temperature extremes (12 and 27 °C) and lowest between 18 and 24 °C. Maximum larval length was inversely related to temperature. Adult body size was significantly smaller at 12 °C, peaked at 18 °C, and declined as temperatures increased. The species-specific development data presented are the first available for C. varifrons for use by forensic practitioners for estimation of minimum time since death. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-321
JournalForensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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