Vanin, Stefano, Zanotti, Emma, Gibelli, Daniele, Taborelli, Anna, Andreola, Salvatore and Cattaneo, Cristina (2013) Decomposition and entomological colonization of charred bodies – a pilot study. Croatian Medical Journal CMJ, 54 (4). pp. 387-393. ISSN 0353-9504

Aim To use forensic entomological approach to estimate
the post mortem interval (PMI) in burnt remains.
Methods Two experiments were performed in a field in
the outskirts of Milan, in winter and summer 2007. Four 60-
kg pigs were used: two for each experiment. One pig carcass
was burnt until it reached the level 2-3 of the Glassman-
Crow scale and the not-burnt carcass was used as a
control. In order to describe the decomposition process
and to collect the data useful for minimum PMI estimation,
macroscopic, histological, and entomological analyses
were performed.
Results In the winter part of the experiment, the first insect
activity on the burnt carcass began in the third week (Calliphora
vomitoria) and at the beginning of the fourth week
an increase in the number of species was observed. In the
summer part, adult flies and first instar maggots (Phormia
regina) appeared a few minutes/hours after the carcass exposure.
Both in winter and summer, flies belonging to the
first colonization wave (Calliphoridae) appeared on burnt
and control pigs at the same time, whereas other species
(Diptera and Coleoptera) appeared earlier on burnt pigs.
Conclusion In forensic practice, burnt bodies are among
the most neglected fields of entomological research, since
they are supposed to be an inadequate substratum for insect
colonization. Entomological approach for PMI estimation
proved to be useful,

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