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Forensic Entomology and the Life Cycle of the Blowfly

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Updated on Mar 06, 2013

Grade Level: 1st -5th; Type: Physical science

Objective:

To study the life cycle of the common blowfly as it relates to forensic investigation.

Research Questions:

  • What is forensic entomology?
  • What is the life cycle of the blowfly?
  • What are maggots?
  • How do investigators use insects to determine time of death?

Forensic entomology uses the various stages of insect growth to determine factors such as time of death in homicide investigations. Students will use a piece of meat and carefully record the life cycle of the blowfly.

Materials:

  • Notebook
  • Piece of raw steak
  • Used margarine container

Experimental Procedure

  1. Take the used margarine or plastic container and puncture holes in the lid
  2. The holes should be at least a quarter inch in diameter
  3. Place a small cube of raw steak in the center of the container
  4. Place the lid on the container and leave in the backyard
  5. Check the container each day at the same time and make observations.
  6. Record the first time you see flies, maggots, and eggs. Compare your findings against the life cycle of the blowfly.

Terms/Concepts: Forensic Entomology; Blowfly; Maggots

References: Forensic Entomology; About Forensic Entomology

Detective Constable Jake Friesen is a member of the Forensic Identification Unit with the Peterborough Lakefield Community Police Service in Ontario, Canada. Jake is highly trained in many disciplines of forensic science and is a fingerprint expert in Canada.

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