Forensic Entomology

Forensic entomology is the study of the interaction of criminal investigations and the world of insects. Insects of forensic significance range in size from the microscopic to very large. The presence of a particular type of insect can indicate geographical location and time of year depending on the type and growth stages observed. Life cycles and climate are also very important in determining time lines or chronology of the events in question.

The entomology segment of the course will require the collection and identification of five insect samples. They must be submitted as dead samples. They can be caught live and killed by an approved method, collected dead, or they may be photographed by the student. No downloaded images are accepted. Each insect must be submitted with the 
ORDER and FAMILY information. An excellent resource can be found at


Forensic Entomology :  the study of insects, primarily those used in determination of time of death in legal issues.

Compound eye - An aggregation of ommatidia, each acting as a single facet of the eye.

Instar - The growth stage between two successive molts.

Larva :  The juvenile form of an insect that emerges from the egg and grows through a series of  instars or cycles of growth and molting of skin. It is often restricted to insects in which there is complete metamorphosis, but is sometimes used for any immature insect that differs strongly from its adult form.

Pupa : A dormant stage of development where the outer skin contracts and hardens to a cocoon-like structure where the larva continues to develop.

Puparium - The hardened skin of the final instar or last nymphal stage.

Eclosion - The release of the adult insect from the puparium.

Exoskeleton- External hardened structural shell of an insect body

Maggot - A legless larval insect, usually with a reduced head, frequently a fly.

Saprophage -  An eater of decaying organisms.



Orders of Insects

Blattaria  -  cockroaches

Coleoptera  -  beetles

Dermaptera  -  earwigs

Diptera  -   flies

Hemiptera  -  true bugs  (shield shaped back)

Homoptera - cicadas and katydids

Hymenoptera  -  ants, wasps, bees

Isoptera   -   termites

Lepidoptera  -  butterflies and moths

Mantodea  -  mantis  ( dictyoptera)

Neuroptera  -  lacewings and ant lions

Odonata   -    dragonflies and damselflies

Orthoptera   -  grasshoppers, crickets

Phasmatodea  -  walkingsticks

Siphonaptera  -  fleas

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