Understanding how ecological conditions influence physiological responses is fundamental to forensic entomology. When determining the minimum postmortem interval with blow fly evidence in forensic investigations, using a reliable and accurate model of development is integral. Many published studies vary in results, source populations, and experimental designs. Accordingly, disentangling genetic causes of developmental variation from environmental causes is difficult. This study determined the minimum time of development and pupal sizes of three populations of Lucilia sericata Meigen (Diptera: Calliphoridae; from California, Michigan, and West Virginia) at two temperatures (20°C and 33.5°C). Development times differed significantly between strain and temperature. In addition, California pupae were the largest and fastest developing at 20°C, but at 33.5°C, though they still maintained their rank in size among the three populations, they were the slowest to develop. These results indicate a need to account for genetic differences in development, and genetic variation in environmental responses, when estimating a postmortem interval with entomological data.
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Vol. 48 • No. 5