There is accumulating evidence that criminals wrap dead bodies in an attempt to conceal evidence. To anticipate the forensic implications of this phenomenon, we examined whether flies that are naturally associated with cadavers exhibit a delay in attendance or differ in species composition and abundance patterns because of the presence of wrapping material. Wrapped and exposed carcasses of dead monkeys placed in an oil plantation in Kedah, Malaysia, were visited over 50 d. On daily visits to each of the six carcasses, visiting adult flies were sampled using hand nets. Flies of 12 families were encountered. Calliphoridae (Chrysomya rufifacies Macquart and C. megacephala (F.) was the most prevalent family, followed by Sphaeroceridae. Some families tended to be more abundant in WRCs (i.e., Calliphoridae, Muscidae, and Phoridae), whereas others (i.e., Piophilidae, Sepsidae, and Psychodidae) were more prevalent in exposed carcasses. Wrapping delayed the arrival of all fly species encountered, with delays varying from 1 to 13 d depending on species. Wrapping did not affect species composition of flies, but prolong the occurrence of some species. The results of the current study emphasize the need to take into consideration the presence of a wrap when estimating postmortem interval.
Larvae of Aedes albopictus Skuse typically inhabit natural and artificial containers. Since these larval habitats are replenished by rainfall, Ae. albopictus may experience increased loss of immature stages in areas with high levels of rainfall. In this study, we investigated the effects of rainfall and container water level on population density, and oviposition activity of Ae. albopictus. In field and laboratory experiments, we found that rainfall resulted in the flushing of breeding habitats. Excess rain negatively impacted larval and pupal retention, especially in small habitats. When filled with water to overflowing, container habitats were significantly repellent to ovipositing females. Taken together, these data suggest that rainfall triggers population loss of Ae. albopictus and related species through a direct detrimental effect (flushing out) and an indirect effect (ovipositional repellency).
Moisture plays a major role in the dynamics of mosquito populations, especially those breeding in container habitats. Despite this importance, the role of moisture conditions as they affect oviposition and egg development in Aedes vectors remains largely unexplored. We investigated the effect of exposing gravid female Aedes albopictus mosquitoes and their eggs to different moisture levels (MLs) for various periods on oviposition and hatching. Overall, high-moisture substrates (HMSs; 66% and 72%) provided better environments for egg laying. The timing of initial egg laying was far longer at the lowest substrate moisture level (LSML, 25% and 41.2%) than at HMSs. The numbers of eggs laid were much lower in the drier environments. At LSMLs, gravid females retained increasing numbers of mature eggs until death, and egg retention decreased gradually with increasing ML. The HMSs also provided better environments for larval eclosion. The numbers of eggs hatched were lower at the LSML than the HSML environment. No egg hatching occurred after 1 h exposure to moisture. However, egg hatching occurred by installment, with spontaneous hatching (SH) increasing gradually with increasing ML. High-moisture conditions combined with long exposure (30 h and 48 h) favored SH. These results suggest that Ae. albopictus females can respond to better moisture conditions for increased success of embryonation and larval eclosion. This information may be useful in the colonization of floodwater Aedes species.
The mosquito Ae. albopictus is usually adapted to the peri-domestic environment and typically breeds outdoors. However, we observed its larvae in most containers within homes in northern peninsular Malaysia. To anticipate the epidemiological implications of this indoor-breeding, we assessed some fitness traits affecting vectorial capacity during colonization process. Specifically, we examined whether Ae. albopictus exhibits increased survival, gonotrophic activity and fecundity due to the potential increase in blood feeding opportunities.
Discarded cigarette butts (DCB) waste occurs worldwide, pollutes landscapes, is unsightly, and results in added debris removal costs. There is, therefore, a great deal of current interest in making use of DCBs in beneficial ways. Despite evidence that DCBs are harmful to water fleas (Daphnia magna), which breed in aquatic environments as do mosquito larvae, their impact on dengue vectors is unknown. We examined whether Aedes albopictus alters its ovipositional responses, larval eclosion, and development in response to presence of DCBs in its habitats. We found oviposition activity in DCB-treated water similar to that of control water and that ovipositional activity in DCB solutions steadily increased over time as those solutions aged to 10 days. Larval eclosion was initially suppressed on day 1 in DCB solution, but increased thereafter to levels similar to control larval eclosion rates. The DCB-water solutions produced significantly higher mortality in both 1st and 2nd instars over control larvae for several days after initial exposure. Mortality rates decreased sharply 3 to 5 days postexposure as DCBs continued to decompose. We found increased survival rates during late development, but daily input of fresh DCBs prevented most young larvae from completing development. Taken together, these observations suggest that decomposing did not deter gravid Ae. albopictus females from ovipositing in treated containers and that DCB solutions had larvicidal effects on early instars. Our results are discussed in the context of DCB use to control container-breeding Ae. albopictus, a competent dengue vector in Asia and other parts of the world.