Determining the age of adult flesh flies,Boettcherisca peregrina, using pteridine fluorescence

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Abstract

To assess the potential application of pteridine fluorescence in determining the age of adult Boettcherisca peregrina (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) Robineau-Desvoidy and further for the postmortem interval, the age-dependent changes of pteridine fluorescence were investigated for the adults maintained at five constant temperatures. From the results, significant linear relationships were found between pteridine fluorescence and the age of the adults maintained at 16, 20, 24, 28 or 32 °C (P < 0.001, r2 > 0.85). In addition, the relationships between the rate of pteridine accumulation and temperature were well described using linear equations for adult females and males. Then for each cohort of the flies at the ambient temperature, a calendar was constructed and used to determine the ages of females and males, respectively, in which was recorded in reverse time order the amount of pteridine accumulated per hour by the flies and their expected pteridine level when they emerged at the specified time. A significant linear relationship between estimated ages and chronological ages was observed for female or male adults, with the mean errors of the estimated ages of ±1.82 days for females and ±1.58 days for males. It is suggested that pteridine fluorescence analysis has a potential value in determining the age of adult B. peregrina.

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