Preservation of larvae retrieved from cadavers is important in ensuring the quality and integrity of entomological specimens used for the estimation of post-mortem interval (PMI). The process of killing and preserving larvae could distort the larvae leading to inaccurate estimation of PMI. In this study, the effects of killing Chrysomya megacephala larvae with hot water at different temperatures and subsequent maintenance in various preservatives were determined. Larvae not killed by hot water but preserved directly were used as control. The types of preservative used were 10% formalin, 70% ethanol and Kahle's solution. The morphological features examined were length, turgidity, curvature and coloration of larvae. Larvae killed in 80ºC hot water have shorter mean length (12.47 ± 2.86 mm) compared to those in 60ºC hot water (12.95 ± 2.69 mm). Increasing the duration of preservation in all types of preservative caused elongations of larvae treated or untreated with hot water. There were no significant changes in larval turgidity preserved in Kahle's solution compared to other two preservatives and were unaffected by the duration of storage. Larvae preserved in Kahle's solution experienced the least changes in coloration and shape compared to other preserved larvae in 70% ethanol or 10% formalin. Larvae directly immersed alive in 70% ethanol experienced the most changes in curvature, coloration and turgidity. This study suggested that killing larvae with hot water at 80ºC and preservation in Kahle's solution is the optimum method resulting in least changes in morphological features of Ch. megacephala larvae.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.