Wing measurement can be used to identify European blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) of forensic importance.


Department of Ecology and Biogeography, Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Lwowska 1, 87-100 Toruń, Poland. Electronic address: [Email]


Correct species identification is a crucial step in research and the practice of forensic entomology. At the moment the most common and widely used tool for this purpose are taxonomic keys based on morphological characters. During recent decades molecular methods have been used more and more often for species identification. Automated species identification can also be based on wing measurements. This method proved to be reliable in the case of some groups of necrophagous Diptera from various geographical regions. Up to now, this method has not been applied to a wide range of species of European Calliphoridae. We have used 968 specimens representing 15 species and 6 genera. Identification was based on 15 landmarks located at wing vein junctions. Wing shape differed markedly between the studied species. The overall correct classification rate at the level of species was 97.1%. Seven species, including Calliphora vomitoria, Chrysomya albiceps, Phormia regina, Protophormia terraenovae and Lucilia sericata were identified without error. Lucilia caesar and Lucilia illustris, which are considered relatively difficult to distinguish, were correctly classified in 93.0% and 94.1% cases, respectively. The correct classification rate at the level of genera was 99.2%. The results presented here suggest that wing measurements are a promising alternative to other methods of identification of necrophagous Calliphoridae. This method can be particularly useful for identification of large samples of females collected during carrion succession studies. It can also be used to double check identification performed by a taxonomist using traditional methods.


Calliphoridae,Europe,Forensic entomology,Imago,Species identification,Wing,

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