Spring Succession of Necrophilous Insects on Wildlife Carcasses in Louisiana

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Seven fresh animal carcasses were monitored throughout decomposition in a mixed flatwood forest in East Baton Rouge Parish, LA from 1 April to 1 July 1999. Succession patterns of necrophilous insects were documented for the following: one Louisiana black bear (threatened species), two white-tailed deer, two alligators, and two swine as the experimental reference. Our results suggest variation in the species composition of necrophilous insects among animal carcass types. A total of 93 arthropod species, from 46 families and three classes, were manually collected from the seven carcasses. Only 19 insect species were collected on all four animal types and were represented by eight families: Coleoptera: Histeridae, Nitidulidae, Silphidae, Staphylinidae; Diptera: Calliphoridae, Muscidae, Piophilidae, Sepsidae. Eleven of the 46 families were not collected at either alligator site but were observed at bear, deer, and swine carrion: Coleoptera: Cleridae, Dermestidae, Geotrupidae, Scarabaeidae; Diptera: Micropezidae, Sarcophagidae, Syrphidae; Hymenoptera: Apidae; Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae; and Odonata: Libellulidae. Residency and succession patterns of necrophilous insects are presented for each animal type with particular emphasis on selected fly (Calliphoridae, Muscidae, Piophilidae, Stratiomyidae) and beetle species (Cleridae, Dermestidae, Histeridae, Nitidulidae, Silphidae, Staphylinidae).

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Journal of Medical Entomology

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