Course Introduction

FSP 502 : Forensic Entomology

  • Course Outline
  • Curriculum
  • FAQ
  • Case Studies
  • Reviews

Forensic Entomology is a special associated distinctive discipline of Forensic Science that deals with the assorted aspects of an insect’s or a maggot’s life cycle so as to assess the time since death. Besides the actual fact that it's one among the distinctive applications of the Sciences technicalities, it’s another side is that it's a way-back best-known Science to the human civilization.


The history of Forensic Entomology rests all the approach back to the thirteenth century. The earliest best-known and recorded case of Forensic Entomology comes from medieval China. Within the year 1325, a Chinese attorney named Sung T’su wrote a textbook on criminal investigations, referred to as “The Washing Away of Wrongs”. During this book, T’su recounts a murder that went on close to the rice field. The victim has been repeatedly slashed by a sharp-edged weapon and investigators suspected it to be a reap hook or a sickle, a typical tool usually employed in rice harvest. The native official then asked all the farmers to come up with their sickles. Though all the sickles looked clean, nonetheless one among the sickles attracted hordes of flies. The flies have the power to sense the residue of blood and tissue invisible to the human eye. Once being confronted by the jury of flies, the slayer confessed the commission of the crime. In spite of sensing the residues of blood and tissue, insects and maggots are of nice facilitate in deciding the time go on since the death of the deceased.


It is a best-known irrefutable fact that insects and maggots are of big help to Forensic Entomologists in deciding myriad factors associated with the death of a private and therefore will offer several links that might ease the complete method of a criminal investigation, thereby providing a final conclusion to the case. A number of the essential applications of Forensic Entomology are- determination of your time since death or Post-mortem Interval (PMI) is of huge importance during a crime investigation, as this could offer a robust and far more conclusive result in the complete case. An intensive study of the maggots and therefore the varied stages of its life cycle will terribly clearly offer ends up in a Forensic Entomologist in assessing rather more approximate PMI.


Generally, blood and varied alternative tissues bear a laboratory analysis to see the presence of poisons and their levels within the body. However in few cases wherever the body remains undiscovered for an extended duration, then maggots are collected and brought to the laboratory for entomo-toxicological studies as a result of the advanced stage of decomposition within the body where assortment and preservation of body viscera becomes an impossible task. This entomo-toxicological studies of the maggots facilitate the assessment of poison levels within the body.


Insects’ species are continuously restricted to a limited region or surroundings. The body gets settled shortly once the onset of decomposition. Just in case if the body gets stirred by some external force, then it gets re-colonized once more relying upon the region and therefore the individual environmental issue. But, this secondary colonisation may dissent from the initial colonisation, thereby providing a clue that the body was resettled in a while.


This course outline would inculcate within the students an ability to view every miniscule factor present at the spot, where a crime was conducted. In addition, they would also be able to analyse the sequence in which the insects colonize a corpse and its evidentiary value in the courtroom.

  • Level I : Forensic Entomology

    MODULE 1 – FORENSIC ENTOMOLOGY

    In this course module, Student will be familiarized with the forensic entomology (the study of insects for the legal purpose) with the structure of the recent evolution of this area of entomology, its career, and scope, classification, and role of forensic entomologist and taxonomic keys that help the biologist in the identification of unknown organisms. This module also includes the significance and limitation of Forensic Entomologist.

    MODULE 2 – INTRODUCTION TO INSECTS

    This module defines different types of insects with their life cycle, physiology, and anatomy that help the entomologist in the determination of time since death of an individual. This module also covers the metamorphosis (physical development of insects), factors affecting growth of insects, and their role in the estimation of time since death.

    MODULE 3 – INSECTS OF FORENSIC IMPORTANCE I

    This module focusses on the different species of flies like blowflies, house flies, flesh flies, skipper flies, and moth flies with their families. The diversity, life cycle, and colonization of flies around the corpse that explain the entomologists about the cause, manner, and time since death of an individual will enrich the students’ knowledge.

    MODULE 4 – ENTOMOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION AND EVIDENCE COLLECTION

    From this module, students will be able to learn about how the investigation was done in the entomological cases where the bodies are unidentified. The collection, preservation, and storage of the insects for the examination of manner, cause, and time since death is also covered in this module. The time since death is done with the help of using successional waves of insects and maggot’s age and development.

    MODULE 5 – ARTHROPOD BORNE DISEASE AND ITS INFESTATION

    This course module encompasses a detailed description of forensic entomology in public health, public health policy, arthropod-borne disease litigation, and the Delusory Parasitosis which contain the mites and other infestation. This course module will let the students explore the limits and enrich their knowledge to the verge.

  • Level II : Forensic Entomology

    MODULE 1 – FORENSIC ENTOMOLOGY

    In this course module, Student will be familiarized with the forensic entomology (the study of insects for the legal purpose) with the structure of the recent evolution of this area of entomology, its career, and scope, classification, and role of forensic entomologist and taxonomic keys that help the biologist in the identification of unknown organisms. This module also includes the significance and limitation of Forensic Entomologist.

    MODULE 2 – INTRODUCTION TO INSECTS

    This module defines different types of insects with their life cycle, physiology, and anatomy that help the entomologist in the determination of time since death of an individual. This module also covers the metamorphosis (physical development of insects), factors affecting growth of insects, and their role in the estimation of time since death.

    MODULE 3 – INSECTS OF FORENSIC IMPORTANCE I

    This module focusses on the different species of flies like blowflies, house flies, flesh flies, skipper flies, and moth flies with their families. The diversity, life cycle, and colonization of flies around the corpse that explain the entomologists about the cause, manner, and time since death of an individual will enrich the students’ knowledge.

    MODULE 4 – ROLE OF ENTOMOLOGY IN HUMAN DECOMPOSITION

    This module contains the details of different stages of decomposition that occur in the body after the death of an individual i.e. fresh, bloated, decay, post decay, and dry stage. In these stages, the variety of insects are found through which the entomologist can estimate the approximate time since death easily. Sometimes factors like physical factors, chemical factors, climate, and animals affect the decomposition process due to which the process of decomposition delayed or might be the chance of occurring before time.

    MODULE 5– ENTOMOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION AND EVIDENCE COLLECTION

    From this module, students will be able to learn about how the investigation was done in the entomological cases where the bodies are unidentified. The collection, preservation, and storage of the insects for the examination of manner, cause, and time since death is also covered in this module. The time since death is done with the help of using successional waves of insects and maggot’s age and development.

    MODULE 6 – WATER, DRUGS, TOXINS, AND INSECT DECOMPOSITION

    Students will familiarize themselves with the detailed description of water, drugs, toxins, and insect decomposition. This course module focusses on the effect of chemical on Arthropods Biology with respect to Insect development and decomposition under the headings of recreational chemicals, aquatic environments, various poisons, and insecticides.

    MODULE 7 – ARTHROPOD BORNE DISEASE AND ITS INFESTATION

    This course module encompasses a detailed description of forensic entomology in public health, public health policy, arthropod-borne disease litigation and the Delusory Parasitosis which contain the mites and other infestation. This course module will let the students explore the limits and enrich their knowledge to the verge.

  • Level III : Forensic Entomology

    MODULE 1 – FORENSIC ENTOMOLOGY

    In this course module, Student will be familiarized with the forensic entomology (the study of insects for the legal purpose) with the structure of the recent evolution of this area of entomology, its career, and scope, classification, and role of forensic entomologist and taxonomic keys that help the biologist in the identification of unknown organisms. This module also includes the significance and limitation of Forensic Entomologist.

    MODULE 2 – INTRODUCTION TO INSECTS

    This module defines different types of insects with their life cycle, physiology, and anatomy that help the entomologist in the determination of time since death of an individual. This module also covers the metamorphosis (physical development of insects), factors affecting the growth of insects, and their role in the estimation of time since death.

    MODULE 3 – INSECTS OF FORENSIC IMPORTANCE I

    This module focusses on the different species of flies like blowflies, house flies, flesh flies, skipper flies, and moth flies with their families. The diversity, life cycle, and colonization of flies around the corpse that explain the entomologists about the cause, manner, and time since death of an individual will enrich the students’ knowledge.

    MODULE 4 – INSECTS OF FORENSIC IMPORTANCE II

    In this module, students will learn about the beetles that play an important role in forensic science. The different species of beetles i.e. carrion beetles, rove beetles, checkered beetles, and scarab beetles have differences in the diversity, life cycle, and colonization around the corpse. This module also includes the type of arthropods and scavengers and their forensic importance in the determination of the cause of death.

    MODULE 5 – ROLE OF ENTOMOLOGY IN HUMAN DECOMPOSITION

    This module contains the details of different stages of decomposition that occur in the body after the death of an individual i.e. fresh, bloated, decay, post decay, and dry stage. In these stages, the variety of insects are found through which the entomologist can estimate the approximate time since death easily. Sometimes factors like physical factors, chemical factors, climate, and animals affect the decomposition process due to which the process of decomposition delayed or might be the chance of occurring before time.

    MODULE 6 – ENTOMOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION AND EVIDENCE COLLECTION

    From this module, students will be able to learn about how the investigation was done in the entomological cases where the bodies are unidentified. The collection, preservation, and storage of the insects for the examination of manner, cause, and time since death is also covered in this module. The time since death is done with the help of using successional waves of insects and maggot’s age and development.

    MODULE 7 – ROLE OF ENTOMOLOGY IN DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES

    This module includes the role of entomology for different disciplines such as medical entomology and forensic archeological entomology. In the medical entomology (the medical issues, a problem caused by insects due to which the entomologist face difficulties in the determination of time since death) and in forensic archeological entomology (insect fragmentation, a consequence of insects in ancient lifestyle and human commensal insect distribution) is discussed.

    MODULE 8 – WATER, DRUGS, TOXINS, AND INSECT DECOMPOSITION

    Students will familiarize themselves with the detailed description of water, drugs, toxins, and insect decomposition. This course module focusses on the effect of chemical on Arthropods Biology with respect to Insect development and decomposition under the headings of recreational chemicals, aquatic environments, various poisons, and insecticides.

    MODULE 9 – ARTHROPOD BORNE DISEASE AND ITS INFESTATION

    This course module encompasses a detailed description of forensic entomology in public health, public health policy, arthropod-borne disease litigation and the Delusory Parasitosis which contain the mites and other infestation. This course module will let the students explore the limits and enrich their knowledge to the verge.

    MODULE 10 – LEGAL ASPECTS OF FORENSIC ENTOMOLOGY

    Through this module, students will acquaint themselves with the introduction of legal aspects of forensic entomology, entomology in civil cases (dispute over private issues). Course module also includes the entomology in criminal cases, child abuse, punishment strings, and narcotic’s origin with the administrative law.

  • What is Forensic Entomology?

    Forensic Entomology is a distinctive branch of Forensic Science that aids in the legal and criminal processing of a case, by a thorough analysis of the maggots that colonize a corpse after the death. This science helps in estimating the number of factors, such as estimation of post-mortem interval, detection of entomo-toxicological issues, the re-location of the corpse, etc. by studying the maggots, their life-span, their colonization pattern, etc.

  • How can I become a Forensic Entomologist?

    After you enroll for the course, learners would be subjected to broad spectrum of entomology with the quality content that would enhance the learners to opine as Experts in the field of Forensic Science.  

  • What are the responsibilities of a Forensic Entomologist?

    The Forensic Entomologist works to give an estimate of the time since death depending upon the presence of the insect or maggot or related specie's life span. They opine for the same as these play a major role in after death aspects of living in forensic science. 

  • What are the scope and the opportunistic aspects of the course?

    The learners may get opportunities as an Expert in Forensic Science Laboratories established by Government. They can also render their valuable opinion to private organisations as well. 

  • Where can I contact in case of any queries?

    You can write to us at education@sifs.in or call us at +91-1147074263 or WhatsApp us +91-7303913002 or +91-7303913003.


Buck Ruxton Case

One of the first cases in which Forensic Entomology was successfully utilised in the UK was that of murderer Buck Ruxton in 1935.

In September 1935 in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, a woman was peering over a bridge above a stream when she made a gruesome discovery. A heap of decaying human remains was found in a small ravine below. Examination of the remains revealed the identities of two victims: the wife and maid of Dr. Buck Ruxton - Isabella Kerr and Mary Rogerson. Ruxton, whose full name was Buktyar Rustomji Ratanji Hakim, was a popular and respected GP working in Lancaster at the time, where he lived with his common-law wife Isabella and their three children.

During the investigation, various maggot specimens were collected from the remains and sent to a laboratory at the University of Edinburgh. It was there that specialist Dr. Mearns identified the specimens as Calliphora vicina, more commonly known as blowflies. By examining the maggots, it was established that they were somewhere between 12 and 14 days old, thus giving the minimum time for which the remains had been left near the stream.

Suspicion quickly fell on Ruxton for various reasons. The two bodies had been dismembered with great skill, suggesting the suspect was knowledgeable in human anatomy. Furthermore, Ruxton had obtained a cut to his hand around the time of the murder and a cleaning woman had reported revolting odours and bloodstains in Ruxton’s house. Finally, parts of the victims’ bodies were wrapped up in newspapers, some of which were special editions from the Sunday Graphic, sold only in Morecambe and Lancaster.

Based on the statements of neighbours, it is believed that Ruxton murdered his popular, outgoing wife, whom he suspected was having an affair, in a fit of rage and, after being disturbed by their housemaid, murdered her too. He then dismembered the bodies in order to hide their identities before dumping them.

On 5th November 1935, Ruxton was charged with murder and later hanged in May the following year, despite a petition for Ruxton’s mercy receiving over 10,000 signatures.

M. Suseela

5

To be honest , this was my first online course. Even though this is not a major subject for me but i like to know more about this forensic science field. And i am looking forward to taking more and more online course. 

Megha Agrawal

4

It was really nice to attend the course and learn from SIFS. 

Narreddy Vaishnavi

5

It was a good, worthy course from SIFS. thankyou. 

Shilpa Babu

5

The course was very interesting and evaluation was really good. 

 

Instructors

Kratika Mishra

Kratika Mishra

Senior Scientific Officer

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