Preliminary Survey of the Faunal Succession of Necrophilous Insects Associated withPig Heads in Rowan County, Kentucky

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CONFERENCE: Posters-at-the-Capitol

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Numerous species of insects utilize carrion as food in at least one stage of their life cycle, which is commonly the larval stage, while other insects are attracted to the larvae feeding on the carrion. Geographical region, type of habitat, and time of year largely influence the faunal succession of necrophilous insects. To generate a taxonomic list and record the faunal succession of necrophilous insects for Rowan County, two pig heads were placed in full sun and a third was placed in complete shade. To prevent large scavengers from disturbing the research each specimen was placed in a cage. The studies were run for six weeks. Within the first ten hours adult Phaenicia sp. (Diptera: Calliphoridae) deposited eggs on all three pig heads, which matured to larvae within 36 hours. Fly larvae were then collected daily in order to monitor their growth rate. Several Creophilus maxillosus (Linnaeus) (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae), which are known predators on fly larvae, Necrophilia americana (Linnaeus) (Coleoptera: Silphidae), and Nicrophorus sp. (Coleoptera: Silphidae) appeared on all three pig heads the same day the blow fly larvae emerged. Other necrophilous insects were collected from various carrion in the region. The first studies were completed from late-August through September (summer season) and from late-October through mid-November (fall season). The research will also be repeated for the winter and spring seasons.