Precocious egg development in the blowfly Calliphora vicina: implications for developmental studies and post-mortem interval estimation

Katherine Brown, M. Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The occurrence of precocious egg development in forensically important calliphorid species has previously been reported; however, the frequency of occurrence in both wild and captive colonies, and the consequent effects on developmental studies and post-mortem interval (PMI) estimates, are largely unknown. A PMI estimate based on samples developed from precocious eggs could be extended by the entire period of embryogenesis, which at 22 °C would result in a significant error of around 24 h. This study examined the occurrence of precocious egg development in Calliphora vicina Robineau-Desvoidy (Diptera: Calliphoridae) wild-caught and captive-bred adults by investigating the presence of larvae in the adult female genital chamber and by monitoring hatching times of entire batches of eggs throughout embryogenesis, respectively. A total of 8.82% of gravid wild-caught females contained a larva in the genital tract (i.e. a precocious egg). This indicates that all specimens collected should be considered potentially precocious for the purpose of PMI estimation. Less than 2.55% of a batch of eggs laid by captive females were precocious; protocols for minimizing the effect of precocious eggs on developmental studies are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-306
Number of pages7
JournalMedical and Veterinary Entomology
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012

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