Species identification of adult African blowflies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) of forensic importance

Int J Legal Med. 2018 May;132(3):831-842. doi: 10.1007/s00414-017-1654-y. Epub 2017 Aug 28.


Necrophagous blowflies can provide an excellent source of evidence for forensic entomologists and are also relevant to problems in public health, medicine, and animal health. However, access to useful information about these blowflies is constrained by the need to correctly identify the flies, and the poor availability of reliable, accessible identification tools is a serious obstacle to the development of forensic entomology in the majority of African countries. In response to this need, a high-quality key to the adults of all species of forensically relevant blowflies of Africa has been prepared, drawing on high-quality entomological materials and modern focus-stacking photomicroscopy. This new key can be easily applied by investigators inexperienced in the taxonomy of blowflies and is made available through a highly accessible online platform. Problematic diagnostic characters used in previous keys are discussed.

Keywords: Africa; Blowflies; Calliphoridae; Forensic entomology; Species identification.

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Animals
  • Diptera / anatomy & histology*
  • Diptera / physiology
  • Entomology
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Forensic Sciences*
  • Humans
  • Postmortem Changes