Insect succession on decomposing remains: the effects of burning
Mowery, Jessica Rae
MetadataShow full item record
This experiment was designed to examine the effects of burning pig (Sus scrofa) remains on insect succession. Remains can be found burnt in a range of natural disasters including earthquakes, motor vehicle accidents, house fires, and brush fires. In homicides, more often than not, remains may be burnt to try and disguise the crime or destroy evidence. There has been little research conducted on the rate of insect succession at different levels of burning. This study will help to build upon the hypothesis that diverse levels of burning will each affect insect succession differently. The experiments took place in May 2017, and was repeated in August 2017. There were a total of three pigs used during this study, which were divided into quarters. Two quarters were used to represent each treatment level. One treatment remained unburnt and was used as a control in each experiment. The quarters were burnt at the research site in Holliston, MA. The Crow-Glassman Scale (CGS) was used to burn one treatment to level 2 and one treatment to level 3-4. They were then placed on site, no closer than five meters apart, surrounded by modified lobster cages and allowed to decompose. Notes, photographs, and insect collections took place every 2 hours on day 2 and twice a day for days 2 through 7. A final collection was then made on day 10 after the majority of tissue and insects were no longer present. The amount of insect activity was documented, photographs were taken, and samples were both preserved and reared through to adults. It was hypothesized that there was a correlation between insect activity and the level of burning. This was found to be true based on the results of this study, and with further research, will have the potential to aid in the determination of the post mortem interval (PMI) when burnt remains are found at the scene.
RightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International