Seasonal structure and dynamics of sarcosaprophagous fauna on pig carrion in a rural area of Cordoba (Argentina): Their importance in forensic science
Moira Battán Horenstein
Mª Dolores García
Four experiments, one in each season, were carried out during 2004 in a rural area of Córdoba, central Argentina. Two pigs (Sus scrofa L.), weighing approximately 8kg each, were used in each of the four experiments. The animals were killed by a sharp blow to the head and immediately placed in an appropriate arthropod trap. One pig was placed in the shade and the other under direct sunlight. This research was conducted to determine the seasonal structure and dynamics of arthropods that constitute the sarcosaprophagous community in a given area of the central region of Argentina. The decomposition process was divided into five stages: fresh, bloated, decay, advanced decay and dry. The duration of each stage varied in different seasons, showing that the temperature and humidity are the most important variables that influence this process. A total of 51,500 adults and 36,909 immature were collected. More than 80% of the specimens collected belong to Insecta, and within this, Diptera were the most abundant order. The flies were mainly represented by adults and immature of the following species: Chrysomya albiceps (Wiedemann) (Calliphoridae), Musca domestica Linnaeus (Muscidae) and Fannia femoralis (Stein) (Fanniidae). Coleoptera were mainly represented by adults and immature of the species Creophilus maxillosus (Linnaeus) (Staphylinidae) and Dermestes maculatus (Geer) (Dermestidae). More than 50% of hymenopteran fauna collected belong to Formicidae. The trophic levels associated with the decomposition of the remains included five categories: necrophagous, parasites and predators of the necrophagous species, omnivores, opportunists and adventives. During faunal succession a strong dominance of the necrophagous species of the family Calliphoridae and Muscidae was observed, mainly during the early stages of decay process in all seasons.