Larval growth rates of the blowfly, Calliphora vicina, over a range of temperatures

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Blowfly larvae (Diptera: Calliphoridae) fulfil an important ecological function in the decomposition of animal remains. They are also used extensively in forensic entomology, predominantly to establish a minimum time since death, or a minimum post-mortem interval, using the larval length as a ‘biological clock’. This study examined the larval growth rate of a forensically important fly species, Calliphora vicina Robineau-Desvoidy (Diptera: Calliphoridae) at temperatures of between 4°C and 30°C, under controlled laboratory conditions. The laboratory flies had been trapped initially in London, U.K. The minimum developmental temperature was estimated to be 1°C and 4700 accumulated degree hours (ADH) were required for development from egg hatch to the point of pupariation. Lines fitted to the laboratory larval growth data were found to adequately explain the growth of larvae in the field. The nature of variation in growth rates from geographically isolated populations is discussed.

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