Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus serves as an important ectoparasite of livestock and a vector of several pathogens resulting in diseases, subsequently affecting the agricultural field as well as the economy. The extensive use of synthetic acaricides is known to cause resistance over time and therefore a much safer, effective and environmentally friendly alternative to overcome tick infestation should be implemented. Larval immersion tests (LIT) were done to evaluate the effects of Citrus hystrix (Family: Rutaceae) and Cymbopogon citratus (Family: Poaceae) essential oils (EOs) for their individual and combined (1:1) acaricidal activity against the cattle tick. Results showed that LC50 and LC90 values in 24 and 48 hours for Cit. hystrix EO were 11.98% and 24.84%, and 10.95% and 21.71% respectively. LC50 and LC90 values for Cym. citratus EO were 1.21% and 6.28%, and 1.05% and 6.12% respectively. The mixture of EOs from two plants in 1:1 ratio (Cit. hystrix 50%: Cym. citratus 50%) was found to exhibit antagonistic effect (synergistic factor < 1). The 24 hours and 48 hours LC50 and LC90 values for combined EOs were 1.52% and 2.84%, and 1.50% and 2.76% respectively. Individual and combined essential oils were subjected to qualitative analysis using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to screen the chemical components present in EOs. Our results showed that the combination of Cit. hystrix and Cym. citratus at 1:1 ratio resulted in an antagonistic effect and the use of Cym. citratus alone is more toxic to R. (B.) microplus, making it a better alternative to chemical based acaricide.
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.
This study reviews forensic entomological specimens analysed by the Department of Parasitology & Medical Entomology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia for the year 2004. A total of 10 cases (6 males and 4 females) were observed for the entomological specimens. Various types of death scenes were obtained including indoor and outdoor area such as bushes field, rubbish dumping site, and aquatic areas. Identified fly species collected from the death sites were blow flies, Chrysomya megacephala, Chrysomya rufifacies and Lucilia cuprina and unknown sarcophagid larvae, with Ch. megacephala being the most common species found in the ecologically varied death scene habitats. The post-mortem interval (PMI) estimation ranged from one to five days, based on the entomological specimens collected.
Forensic entomology refers to the science of collection and analysis of insect evidence in order to determine the minimum time period since death. This study aimed to investigate the occurrence of forensically important flies on 34 human remains referred to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre over a period of three years. Entomological specimens were collected at the death scenes and/or during autopsies. Live specimens were reared into adults while preserved specimens were processed for species identification. Five families, seven genera and nine species of flies were identified from human remains. The results of the study showed Chrysomya megacephala (Calliphoridae) maggots occurred on corpses with the highest frequency (70.6%), followed by Ch. rufifacies (Calliphoridae) (44.1%), sarcophagid fly (Sarcophagidae) (38.2%), Synthesiomya nudiseta (Muscidae) (20.6%), Megaselia scalaris (Phoridae) (14.7%), Lucilia cuprina (Calliphoridae) (5.9%), Ch. nigripes (Calliphoridae) (5.9%), Eristalis spp. (Syrphidae) (5.9%) and Hydrotaea spinigera (Muscidae) (2.9%). The greatest fly diversity occurred on remains recovered indoors (eight species) compared to outdoors (three species). Whilst, single and double infestations were common for both indoor and outdoor cases, multiple infestation of up to six species was observed in one of the indoor cases. Although large numbers of fly species were found on human remains, the predominant species were still those of Chrysomya, while S. nudiseta was found only on human remains recovered from indoors. The present study provides additional knowledge in the context of Malaysian forensic entomology and the distribution of forensically important flies which is of relevance to forensic science.
The distributions of flies are not only confined to ground level but can also be at higher altitudes. Here, we report three forensic cases involving dipterans in high-rise buildings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Case 1 involved a corpse of adult female found at the top floor of a fifteen-story apartment. Case 2 dealt with a body of a 75-year-old female discovered in a bedroom on the eleventh floor of an eighteen-story building, while Case 3 was a 52-year-old male found in his fifth floor shop house. Interestingly, entomological analysis revealed that all corpses were infested with similar Dipterans: Megaselia scalaris (Loew) (Diptera: Phoridae), Synthesiomyia nudiseta (Wulp) (Diptera: Muscidae) and sarcophagid (Diptera: Sarcophagidae). The first two species were commonly associated with corpses found indoors at ground level. We noted the additional occurrence of blowflies Chrysomya megacephala (Fabricius) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) and Chrysomya rufifacies Macquart (Diptera: Calliphoridae) larvae in Case 2 and Case 3, respectively. Findings from this study are significant as they demonstrate that certain groups of fly can locate dead bodies even in high-rise buildings. Forensic entomofauna research on corpses found at high elevation is scarce and our study has highlighted the peculiarity of the fly species involved in Malaysia.
This is the first report of Synthesiomyia nudiseta (Wulp) (Diptera: Muscidae) on a human corpse discovered in a high-rise building in Malaysia. On 5 March 2008, a decomposing body of an adult female was found on the top floor of a thirteen-story building in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her body was colonized by S. nudiseta larvae, which were normally associated with corpses found indoors at ground level. The post-mortem interval (PMI) was estimated at approximately 5 to 9 days. This case is significant as it demonstrates that this species can locate a dead body even in a high-rise building. Further findings of fly distribution especially in high-rise buildings should be reported to assist entomologists in PMI analysis.
Hypopygiopsis violacea, a species of fly of forensic importance, was recovered from a corpse and described for the first time. The morphological structures of the second and third instar larvae of four specimens were examined using light microscope. Observations were focused on three main morphological characters: cephalopharyngeal skeleton, anterior and posterior spiracles. Cephalopharyngeal skeleton of second instar larva is darkly pigmented and without accessory sclerite below the mouth hook. The anterior spiracles of second and third instar larvae have 8-9 papillae each, arranged in a single row. The posterior spiracle of second instar larva has two spiracular slits with no thickening of peritreme. This differentiates it from the third instar, whereby the latter has three slits for each posterior spiracle. Cephalopharyngeal skeleton of third instar larva is heavily pigmented. An accessory sclerite is found below the hook part of third instar larva but is absent in second instar. Peritreme of the posterior spiracle of third instar larva is thick almost complete encircling a button. The intersegmental spines of the cuticular surface are dome-shaped and unicuspid. Third instar larva of this species is large with size approximately 15 mm long. These findings provide important identification features of immature stages of Hy. violacea which could be useful in forensic entomology.