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Medico-legal forensic entomology is the study of insects to aid in determining time, place, manner, and cause of death. Identification of the postmortem interval (PMI), or the time that has passed since a person has died, is arguably one of the most important pieces of information that forensic entomology can provide. The PMI can be found using either insect developmental rates or entomofaunal succession, the arrival of different insects at a body at different time points.

The largest group of insects, the beetles, is the order Coleoptera, which contains 25% of all animal species. Members of this order are critical to the field of forensic entomology, predominantly necrophagous beetles that feed directly on the tissues of bodies, but also those that feed on the larvae of necrophagous insects. The family Silphidae, also known as carrion beetles, is an especially important group which employs both feeding strategies. Understanding both the order Coleoptera and the family Silphidae and how they relate to the field of forensic entomology is an important step in recognizing their importance and furthering research into necrophagous beetles.

Publication Date


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Grand Forks, ND


Forensic entomology, Coleoptera, Silphidae


Entomology | Forensic Science and Technology


Presented at the Spring 2018 Undergraduate Showcase Grand Forks, ND, May 3, 2018.

Forensic Entomology and the Order Coleoptera