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31 August 2020 Factors Affecting the Composition and Succession of Beetles in Exposed Pig Carcasses in Southern Brazil
Ana Carolina R. Ries, Vinícius Costa-Silva, Charles F. dos Santos, Betina Blochtein, Patrícia J. Thyssen
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Abstract

Coleoptera is one of the largest taxon among animals and exhibits diverse eating habits. When associated with decaying corpses, beetles can be of great value in estimating the postmortem interval. In order to consolidate a useful database for the forensic field, it is necessary to study the entomological fauna associated with the carcasses in different geographical regions since the diversity of insects varies according to the biogeoclimate zone. Thus, this study aimed to assess the influence of environmental and ecological factors on the composition and succession of beetles associated with pig carcasses exposed in southern Brazil. Collections were carried out during the hot/dry and cold/wet seasons. A total of 415 specimens belonging to 18 Coleoptera families were sampled. The highest total abundance (n = 329) and diversity (n = 44 taxa) were recorded in the cold/wet season, corresponding to approximately 80% of the total sampled from the two seasons. Dermestidae (26.7%) was the family most abundantly sampled. Regarding eating habits, in an increasing order of importance were necrophagous (43.3%), predator (31.6%), and omnivorous (0.05%). In the hot/dry season, there was no faunal succession. In the cold/wet season, the succession was more associated with differences in abundance than to the presence or absence of a specific taxon by decomposition stage. Considering all the factors analyzed in the current study, three species of beetles, Dermestes maculatus DeGeer (Dermestidae), Euspilotus azureus (Sahlberg, 1823) (Histeridae), and Oxelytrum discicolle Brullé, 1840 (Silphidae), could be identified as being of the greatest forensic relevance in this biogeoclimatic zone.

© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
Ana Carolina R. Ries, Vinícius Costa-Silva, Charles F. dos Santos, Betina Blochtein, and Patrícia J. Thyssen "Factors Affecting the Composition and Succession of Beetles in Exposed Pig Carcasses in Southern Brazil," Journal of Medical Entomology 58(1), 104-113, (31 August 2020). https://doi.org/10.1093/jme/tjaa175
Received: 12 January 2020; Accepted: 22 July 2020; Published: 31 August 2020
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KEYWORDS
Coleoptera
forensic entomology
necrophagous
postmortem interval
regional database
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