This article presents research into the development rate of blow fly larva as measures used to investigate human remains.
Chrysomya megacephala (Fabricius) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) is a medically and forensically important blow fly species that invaded the United States three decades ago and has continued to expand its distribution across the country ever since. Unlike many other blow fly species, larvae of C. megacephala can develop in feces, particularly from humans. Additionally, C. megacephala is known to carry antibiotic-resistant bacteria in even greater quantities than house flies in tropical areas. This behavior, along with its dissemination into and prevalence within human inhabited environments (e.g., outdoor markets, urban neighborhoods), makes C. megacephala a potential threat to human health. This short communication serves as the first record of C. megacephala in Tennessee, USA. Collections of adult and larval blow flies were made from two sets of human remains decomposing at the Anthropology Research Facility (ARF) at the University of Tennessee. Specimens were confirmed by an expert to be C. megacephala. A total of seven individual specimens (four adults and three larvae) of C. megacephala were collected from human bodies at the ARF. These results indicate that C. megacephala is not just dispersing into this environment as adults, but actively colonizing human remains in this semi-urban area. These observations support the previously described behavior and habitat of this filth-breeding fly in many Asian countries where it is considered medically and forensically important. Therefore, continuously updated distribution records, like this one, are critical for tracking the movement of C. megacephala across the United States. (Published Abstract Provided)