Piophila megastigmata (Diptera: Piophilidae): First records on human corpses

Species in the genus Piophilia  are commonly known as  cheese flies or the cheese skippers since they are often attracted to cheese and preserved meats. Piophila casei, in fact, is necessary for the production of traditional (but illegally-produced) casu marzu cheese in Italy and Croatia.  As the larvae digest the cheese, the residue they leave ferments the food and leaves behind a characteristic taste associated with properly produed casu marzu.

Piophila casei is also assoicated with the later stages of decay in humans, since as humans decompose their fat renders and smells an awful lot like cheese.

Recently, researchers in Portugal found a relative of P. casei, P. megastigmata, on human remains for the first time. Publications of this type are very important, especially for an up-and-coming science like forensic entomology. Now that we know P. megastigmata feeds on human remains, we can start researching the insect and use it to tell us a little bit about a body.

Piophila megastigmata (Diptera: Piophilidae): First records on human corpses 10.1016/j.forsciint.2011.07.009 : Forensic Science International |