skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 228521 Find in a Library
Title: Influence of Clothing and Wrapping on Carcass Decomposition and Arthropod Succession During the Warmer Seasons in Central South Africa
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:54  Issue:5  Dated:September 2009  Pages:1105-1112
Author(s): Janine A. Kelly, Ph.D.; Theuns C. van der Linde, Ph.D.; Gail S. Anderson, M.P.M., Ph.D.
Date Published: September 2009
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Research Foundation
Pretoria 0001, South Africa
University of the Free State
Bloemfontein 9300 ,
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This South African study examined the influence of clothing and wrapping on pig carcass decomposition and arthropod succession in order to estimate postmortem interval in homicide investigations.
Abstract: One of the most significant findings in terms of postmortem interval estimation was that oviposition by the adult female flies was recorded simultaneously at all the carcasses regardless of whether the carcass was wrapped or not, for both seasons (autumn and summer in South Africa). All of the carcasses in all sample groups showed maggots of the same age and, in most cases, of the same species during the first 13 days. This was contrary to the research published by Goff, who estimated a 2.5-day delay on wrapped remains. In Goff’s study, however, the remains were wrapped in two layers of blankets and securely tied. In the current study, the carcasses were only wrapped in a sheet and were not tied. The flies were observed to push through the smallest gaps and folds of the sheet to the point of damaging their wings. Dead flies were sometimes found on the wrapped carcasses after they were unable to find a way out of the sheet. Thus, in a criminal investigation in which a body has been wrapped and has not been secured in any way, it can be assumed that there was no delay in oviposition by adult Chrysomya marginalis and Chrysomya albiceps during the autumn and summer seasons in the region of South Africa where this study was conducted. All of the carcasses remained fresh for only 1 day at most, which was shorter than reported elsewhere. The bloat stage lasted only 3 days in autumn and less than 1 day in summer. Time differences in the decomposition process can be expected due to geographic and climatic differences. 1 table, 3 figures, and 36 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Death investigations; Foreign criminal justice research; Forensic sciences; Homicide investigations; Investigative techniques; South Africa; Time of death determination
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.