Does blow fly (Diptera: Calliphoridae) community structure on burnt remains effect offspring fitness levels?

Monday, November 17, 2014: 11:24 AM
B113-114 (Oregon Convention Center)
Vincenzo A. Pacheco , Biology, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada
Sherah L. VanLaerhoven , Department of Biology, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada
In Canada, fire-related homicides are becoming more prominent, as is the burning of human remains post-mortem as a forensic countermeasure to eliminate evidence.  The Crow-Glassman Scale (CGS) can be used to classify burnt remains based on the severity of the burn.  Different levels on the CGS provide different amounts of consumable material for developing blow fly (Diptera: Calliphoridae) maggots.  Depending on the severity of the burnt remains, blow flies have been shown to successfully colonize and oviposit on these remains.  Human analogues, in the form of fetal pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus), were burnt to each of the first three levels of the CGS and exposed to gravid female blow flies for 24 h. Treatments included both single and mixed species treatments of Lucilia sericata (Meigen) and Phormia regina (Meigen).  Post-oviposition, immature blow flies were allowed to feed on the burnt remains, develop and emerge as adults in sealed glass aquaria lined with wood shavings.  Adults were then removed from the aquaria, the left wings were excised and the posterior cross vein (cm-du) was measured for 25 individuals of each sex from each treatment as a measure of fitness.  Mean wing vein lengths were compared using a two-factor analysis of variance to determine if increasing flame impingement level and larval competition impact the fitness of blow flies colonizing burnt remains.  This research will elucidate the potential population level consequences for blow flies that result from ovipositing on burnt remains.