Geometry of posterior larval spiracles to identify medically and forensically important calliphorids in Thailand

Acta Trop. 2024 Apr:252:107126. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2024.107126. Epub 2024 Feb 3.


Fly identification is the primary step of analysis in forensic entomology. Although morphology and molecular techniques are considered satisfactory methods, some constraints may arise from a financial or even human point of view. Over the past decade, the geometric morphometric approach has been increasingly advocated for the classification and identification of arthropods. This study explored the method for species identification of 800 third-instar larvae of eight blow fly species of medical and forensic importance: Chrysomya chani Kurahashi, Chrysomya megacephala (Fabricius), Chrysomya (Ceylonomyia) nigripes Aubertin, Chrysomya pinguis (Walker), Chrysomya (Achoetandrus) rufifacies (Macquart), Hemipyrellia ligurriens (Wiedemann), Lucilia cuprina (Wiedemann), and Lucilia porphyrina (Walker). Based on the posterior spiracles geometry, the cross-validation revealed a relatively high percentage of correct classification in most species, ranking from 86% to 100%. The results of this study confirmed that the geometric morphometric (GM) analysis of posterior spiracles might be utilized as a larva identification tool. Therefore, this GM method represents one way of overcoming difficulties with the identification of blow fly larvae and can support further studies of these flies.

Keywords: Forensic entomology; Geometric morphometrics; Identification; Posterior spiracles.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calliphoridae
  • Diptera*
  • Humans
  • Larva
  • Thailand