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Revista de la Sociedad Entomológica Argentina

Print version ISSN 0373-5680


ABALLAY, Fernando H.; FERNANDEZ CAMPON, Florencia; MULIERI, Pablo R.  and  URQUIZA, Silvana V.. Sarcophagidae (Diptera) of forensic importance at a high altitude desert in Catamarca, Argentina: ovoviviparity as an advantage under extreme arid conditions. Rev. Soc. Entomol. Argent. [online]. 2011, vol.70, n.3-4, pp. 255-266. ISSN 0373-5680.

Despite their prevalence in human corpses during decomposition, Sarcophagidae are not frequently used in forensic studies due to the difficulty in their identification and to the lack of information on their biology. In this paper, we identified the species of Sarcophagidae associated to corpses and studied their relationship to decomposition stages. We analyzed preferences for different cadaveric substrates (pig and lama) and microenvironmental conditions (shade, sun) at a site located at 3600 m.a.s.l. during the spring. Two pig carcasses, one located in the shade and the other in the sun, and a third carcass of a lama located in the sun, were used. We collected 597 individuals belonging to five Sarcophagidae species: Microcerella antofagastensis Mulieri, Mariluis & Aballay (n=347), M. quimaliensis (Lopes) (n=117), M. rusca (Hall) (n=32), M. penai (Lopes) (n=5) and M. aulacophyto Pape (n=96). Both M. antofagastensis and M. quimaliensis were the effective colonizers and represented 78% of the total adults collected. Microcerella antofagastensis was the primary colonizer. Both species had a similar response against microenvironmental conditions and both preferred the pig carcass. We discuss the importance of these two species as forensic indicators and the advantages of ovoviviparity against other oviparous species under extreme arid conditions.

Keywords : Necrophagous insects; Microcerella; Ovoviviparity; Arid conditions; Forensic entomology.

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