Fly pupae and puparia as potential contaminants of forensic entomology samples from sites of body discovery Academic Article uri icon


  • Fly pupae and puparia may contaminate forensic entomology samples at death scenes if they have originated not from human remains but from animal carcasses or other decomposing organic material. These contaminants may erroneously lengthen post-mortem interval estimates if no pupae or puparia are genuinely associated with the body. Three forensic entomology case studies are presented, in which contamination either occurred or was suspected. In the first case, blow fly puparia collected near the body were detected as contaminants because the species was inactive both when the body was found and when the deceased was last sighted reliably. The second case illustrates that contamination may be suspected at particularly squalid death scenes because of the likely presence of carcasses or organic material. The third case involves the presence at the body discovery site of numerous potentially contaminating animal carcasses. Soil samples were taken along transects to show that pupae and puparia were clustered around their probable sources.

publication date

  • October 23, 2006