3. Potential Contamination of Forensic Entomology Samples Collected in the Mortuary Academic Article uri icon


  • Carrion insects originating from infested bodies may establish small mortuary populations. Two Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine cases are presented to illustrate how these insects can potentially contaminate forensic entomology samples collected in the mortuary. The first case proves that bodies can be colonised in the mortuary: when a decomposed body in freezer storage was thawed for a procedure in the main mortuary, it was colonised within five minutes of exposure by the beetle Necrobia rufipes De Geer (Cleridae, Coleoptera). The second case illustrates that immobile juvenile insects can be transferred between bodies, and describes the transfer of an Eristalis sp. (Syrphidae, Diptera) pupa from a decomposed to a fresh body. While the contamination risk is slight, it can be further minimised by checking mortuary-collected samples against those taken from the body discovery site, by mortuary pest control, and by checking previous mortuary admittance records for possible contamination sources.

publication date

  • January 2005