Ado-Baba Ahmed, Samson G. Joseph, Kasang Naman


Necrophagous insects associated with decomposing carcass of Cavia porcellus were studied during the dry season in Kaduna, Nigeria. The carcass was placed inside a steel cage (81 x 53 x 45 cm) to prevent larger animals and birds from scavenging but allowing insects to have access. The cage was removed to expose the carcass and allow for recording of the progress of decomposition, collection of immature stages, taking of photographs and collection of adult insects. Sampling of adult insects was conducted with sweep nets above and around the carcass to assess species occurrence and abundance. Four decomposition stages were identified comprising fresh, bloat, decay and dry decay stages. The fresh stage lasted only one day beginning soon after the carcass was killed. The bloat stage was observed from day 2 till day 5 post killing. The decay stage commenced on day 6 when the carcass ruptured and lasted till day 9. The bulk of the biomass was removed during the decay stage as a result of the maggot feeding. Dry decay stage began about day 10 when the carcass started showing signs of dryness and continued until day 16 when the experiment was terminated. Three insect orders were encountered namely: Diptera, Coleoptera and Hymenoptera belonging to seven families and twenty one species. The order Coleoptera comprised three families and four species, with Hister beetle being the first to arrive during the bloat stage on day 2 and remained through the decay and dry decay stages of decomposition. No arthropod was recorded during the dry decay stage except one species each of Hister beetle and Messogalla ant. Species of Pheidole and Messorgalla ants (Hymenoptera) were the only species seen during the brief fresh stage but two other species of ants (Camponotus sp and Crematogaster sp) were recorded during the bloat stage. On the whole, diptera had the highest prevalence accounting for 75% of the total collection. The Calliphorids were represented by three species, the Sarcophagids by five species and Muscidae by three species. The abundance of the seven families of arthropods occurred in the order: Muscidae>Sarcophagidae>Calliphoridae>Formicidae>Histeridae> Curculionidae and Caracidae. The insects that emerged from the laboratory - reared immatures were all dipterans from the families Sarcophagidae (Sarcophaga exuberans and Sarcophaga villa) and Calliphoridae (Hemipyrellia fernandica, Phaenicia (L) sericata and L. infernalis).


Dry season; Necrophagous insects; decomposition stages; Kaduna; Nigeria

Full Text:



Abajue, M.C, S.C. Ewuim and C.E. Akunne. 2014. Preliminary checklist of flies associated with pig carrions decomposition in Okija Anambra State, Nigeria, Animal Research International. 11(1):1899–1904.

Abajue, M.C., S.C. Ewuim and C.E. Akunne. 2013. Insects associated with decomposing pig carrions in Okija Anambra State, Nigeria. The Bioscientist. 1(1): 54–59.

Ahmed, A.B. and G.J. Samson. 2016. Estimation of Postmortem Interval Using Phaenicia (Lucilia) sericata (Diptera: Calliphoridae) in Kaduna, Nigeria. (Int. J. Res. Med. Sci. 4(8): 3417-3420.

Amendt, J., R. Krettek, C. Niess, R. Zehner and H. Bratzke. 2000. Forensic entomology in Germany. Forensic Sci.Int. 113: 309-314.

Amendt, J., R. Zehner, D.G. Johnson and J.D. Wells. 2010. Future trends in forensic entomology. In: Amendt J, Campobasso CP, Goff ML, Grassberger M, editors. Current concepts in forensic entomology. Dordrecht: Springer. 353–68.

Anderson, G.S. and S.L. VanLaerhoven. 1996. Initial studies on insect succession on carrion in southwestern British Columbia. J. Forensic Sci. 41: 617-625.

Anderson, G.S. Insect succession on carrion and its relationship to determining time since death, pp. 143-175. In J. H. Byrd and J.L. Castner (eds.). 2001. Forensic entomology: the utility of arthropods in legal investigations. CRC, Boca Raton, FL.

Arimoro, F.O. 2013. Coloniziation and invertebrate succession on mammalian carcasses in Ethiope River, Niger Delta Nigeria Applied Science Research Journal. 1(1): 7–21.

Arnaldos, I., E. Romera, M.D. Garcia and A. Luna. 2001. An initial study on the succession of sarcosaprophagousDiptera (Insecta) on carrion in the southeastern Iberian Peninsula. International Journal of Legal Medicine. 114: 156 162.

Blackith, R.E. and R.M. Blackith. 1990. Insect Infestations of Small Corpses. Journal of Natural History, 1990, 24: 699-709.

Carvalho, L.M.L. and A.X. Linhares. 2001. Seasonality of insect succession and pig carcass decomposition in a natural forest area in southeastern Brazil. Journal of Forensic Science 2001. 46: 604 608.

Chen, C.D, W.A. Nazni, H.L. Lee, H. Rosli, A.A. Nurul, R. Rosli, K.W. Lau, C. Heo and B.W. Cornaby. 2014. Carrion reduction by animals in contrasting tropical habitats. Biotropica. 6: 51-63.

Cornaby, B.W. 1974. Carrion Reduction by Animals in Contrasting Tropical Habitats. Biotropica. 6 (1): 51-63.

Davies, L. 1990. Species composition and larval habitats of blowfly (Calliphoridae) populations in upland areas in England and Wales. Med. Vet. Entomol. 4: 61-88.

Early, M. and M.L. Goff. 1986. Arthropod Succession Patterns in Exposed Carrion on the Island Of O’hau, Hawaiian Islands, USA. Journal of Medical Entomology, 1986. 23 (5): 520-531.

Ekanem, M.S. and S. Umoetuk. 2009. The immature stages of three carrion breeding blowflies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) in south eastern Nigeria. The Zoologist, 7.

Ekrakene, T. and B.N. Iloba. 2011. One Death, Many Insect Species, Yet One Insect Generation. Journal of Entomology. 8:27-39.

Erzinclioglu, Y.Z. 1996 Blowflies. Richmond Publishing, Slough. 71p.

Ewuim, S.C. and M.C. Abajue. 2016. Forensic Entomology in Nigeria: The Journey So Far. Open Science Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering. Vol. 3(1):1-4.

Goff, M.L. 1993. Estimation of postmortem interval using arthropod development and successional patterns. Forensic Sci. Rev. 81-94.

Grassberger, M., E. Friedrich and C. Reiter. 2003. The blowfly Chrysomya albiceps (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) as a new forensic indicator in central Europe. Int J Legal Med. 117: 75-81.

Greenberg, B. 1991. Flies as forensic indicators. J Med Entomol. 28: 565-577.

Hall, R.D. 2001. Introduction: perceptions and status of forensic entomology, pp. 1-15. In J. H. Byrd and J. L. Castner (eds.), Forensic entomology: the utility of arthropods in legal investigations. CRC, Boca Raton, FL.

Keh, B. 1985. Scope and application of forensic entomology. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 30: 137-154.

Kuusela, S. and I. Hanski. 1982. The structure of carrion by communities: the size and type of carrion. Holarctic Ecol. 5: 337-338.

Mabika, N., R. Masendu and G. Mawera. 2014. An initial study of insect succession on decomposing rabbit carrions in Harare, Zimbabwe. Asian Pac. J. Trop. Biomed. 4 (7): 561–565. doi: 10.12980/APJTB.4.2014C1031.

Megnin, J.P. 1894. La faune des cadavres Encyclopedie Scientifique des Aide-Memoire. Paris: Masson, Gauthier-Villars et Fils.

Morreti, T., D.R. Solis and W.A. Godoy. 2013. Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) collected with carrion-baited traps in Southeast Brazil. Open Forensic SciJ. 7: 1-5.

Ndueze, O.U., M.A.E. Noutcha, O.C. Umeozor and S.N. Okiwelu. 2013. Arthropods associated with wildlife carcasses in Lowland Rainforest, Rivers State, Nigeria. European Journal of Experimental Biology. 3(5):111-114.

Nuorteva, P. 1959. Studies on the significance of flies in the transmission of poliomyelitis. IV. The composition of the blowfly fauna in different part of Finland during 1958. Ann. Entomol. Fenn. 25: 137-162.

Reed, H.B. 1958. A study of dog carcass communities in tennessee, with special reference to the insects. Am. Midland Nat. 59: 213-245.

Rodriguez, W.C. and W.M. Bass. 1983. Insect activity and its relationship to decay rates of human cadavers in East Tennessee. J. Forensic Sci. 28: 423-432.

Schoenly, K. 1992. A statistical analysis of successional patterns in carrion-arthropod assemblages: implications for forensic entomology and determination of the postmortem interval. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 37: 1489-1513.

Shi, Y.W., LiuXS, H.Y. Wang and R.J. Zhang. 2009. Seasonality of insect succession on exposed rabbit carrion in Guangzhou, China. Insect Sci. 16(5):425–439.

Tabor, K.L, C.C. Brewster and R. Fell. 2004. Analysis of the Successional Patterns of Insects on Carrion in Southwest Virginia. J. Med. Entomol. 41(4): 785-795.

Vanlaerhoven, S.L. and G.S. Anderson. 1999. Insect succession on buried carrion in two biogeoclimatic zones of British Columbia. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 44(1):32-43.

Villet, M.H. 2011. African carrion ecosystems and their insect communities in relation to forensic entomology: A review. Pest Technology. 5: 1–15.

Watson, E.J. and C.E. Carlton. 2003. Spring succession of necrophilous insects on wildlife carcasses in Louisiana. J. Med. Entomol. 40: 338-347.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 International Journal of Entomological Research

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Entomological Research
ISSN: 2310-3906 (Online), 2310-5119 (Print).
© EScience Press. All Rights Reserved.