Piophila casei (Linnaeus) (Diptera: Piophilidae) is reported from human cadavers in two separate forensic cases for the first time in Malaysia. Both bodies were found indoors. The first case, was that of a male of unknown nationality and age and also contained maggots of the muscid Ophyra spinigera (Stein). The second case was a female Chinese whose body also contained other species of maggots but these were not identifiable.
The major fruit fly attractant component in the floral fragrance of Bulbophyllum cheiri (fruit fly orchid) is methyl eugenol (ME). In the lowland rain forest of Malaysia, the solitary and nonresupinate flowers of the fruit fly orchid attract only males of the ME-sensitive fruit fly species (Bactrocera carambolae, B. papayae. and B. umbrosa. During the morning, the fruit fly orchid flower is visited by many fruit flies, which can sometimes cover the whole flower. The number of visitors dwindles in the afternoon. Headspace analysis of the flower shows a high ME peak in the morning, a small one between 12:00 and 14:00 hr, and no detectable ME peak after 14:00 hr. The process of pollination in the wild is initiated by attraction of fruit flies to floral ME. The flower, with the aid of its specialized hinged see-saw lip (labellum), temporarily traps (< 1 min) a fruit fly pollinator between its lip and column. Just prior to this, the fly is rewarded by the opportunity to feed on the floral attractant found on surfaces of petals, sepals, and lip. The pollinaria borne by two wild B. papayae males (caught on and near the fruit fly orchid flower) are identical in morphology and structure with those obtained from the flower. Many of the B. papayae males (17 of 22 analyzed) attracted to the fruit fly orchid already possessed both ME metabolites, trans-coniferyl alcohol and 2-allyl-4,5-dimethoxyphenol, in their rectal glands. indicating that they had previously consumed ME. In this orchid-fruit fly association, both organisms gain direct reproductive benefits: the orchid flower gets pollinated without having to offer nectar, while the fruit fly boosts its pheromone and defense system, as well as its sexual competitiveness by feeding on the ME produced by the flower.
Nine species of parasitoids were found parasitizing the pupae of filth flies breeding in refuse dumps and poultry farms throughout peninsular Malaysia. Spalangia were most common, consisting of Spalangia endius Walker, S. cameroni Perkins, S. gemina Boucek, S. nigroaenea Curtis, and two undescribed species. Other parasitoids collected were Pachycrepoideus vindemmiae Rondani, Dirhinus himalayanus Westwood, and an unidentified Hymenoptera. The parasitized fly hosts included Musca domestica L., Chrysomya megacephala (F.), Fannia sp., and Ophyra sp. S. endius was the most common parasitoid attacking M. domestica and C. megacephala at refuse dumps and poultry farms D. himalayanus were found to parasitize only M. domestica pupae collected at poultry farms.
Forensic entomological specimens collected from human decedents during crime scene investigations in Malaysia in the past 6 years (2005-2010) are reviewed. A total of 80 cases were recorded and 93 specimens were collected. From these specimens, 10 species of cyclorrphagic flies were identified, consisting of Chrysomya rufifacies (Macquart) -38 specimens (40.86%), Chrysomya megacephala (Fabricius) -36 specimens (38.70%), Chrysomya villeneuvi (Patton) -2 specimens (2.15%), Chrysomya nigripes (Aubertin) -2 specimens (2.15%), Chrysomya pinguis (Walker) -1 specimen (1.08%), Hermetia illucens (Linnaeus) -1 specimen (1.08%), Hemipyrellia liguriens (Wiedemann) -5 specimens (5.37%), Synthesiomyia nudiseta (Wulp) -1 specimen (1.08%), Megaselia scalaris (Loew)-1 specimen (1.08%) and Sarcophaga ruficornis (Fabricius) -4 specimens (4.30%). In two specimens (2.15%), the maggots were not identifiable. Ch. megacephala and Ch. rufifacies were the commonest species found in human decedents from three different ecological habitats. S. nudiseta is an uncommon species found only on human cadavers from indoors. A total of 75 cases (93.75%) had a single fly infestation and 5 cases (6.25%) had double fly infestation. In conclusion, although large numbers of fly species were found on human decedents, the predominant species are still those of Chrysomya.
A survey of the infestation rate of colonies of Macrotermes gilvus (Hagen) (Termitidae: Macrotermitinae) with the koinobiont endoparasitoid Misotermes mindeni Disney & Neoh (Diptera: Phoridae) was conducted in Malaysia from September 2009 to January 2011 in the states of Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Terengganu, and Sarawak. Of the 1,125 M. gilvus mounds surveyed, 12.4% contained termites parasitized by M. mindeni and these mounds occurred only in the states of Penang and Perak. High frequencies of mounds containing parasitized termites were found at sites in Penang: Bayan Lepas (21.1%), Minden Campus of Universiti Sains Malaysia ([USM]; 24.5%), Teluk Bahang (28.0%), and Bukit Mertajam (35.0%); the lowest frequency (4.0%) was recorded from Gelugor. The parasitized colonies at all sites were classified as healthy, with exception of several from the Minden Campus of USM (96.4% healthy) and Ayer Itam (87.5% healthy). Most parasitized colonies (71.2%) had a low level of M. mindeni infestation. Only 16.7 and 12.1% of the infested colonies had moderate or high parasite infestation levels, respectively. The height of infected mounds was significantly higher than that of the healthy mounds, but there was no difference between the mound diameters of infested and uninfested mounds. Parasite infestation level was not significantly correlated with mound height or mound diameter. The ambient light intensity at sites with infested mounds was significantly lower than that of uninfested mounds. There was also a significant negative relationship between light intensity and degree of parasitism.
The larval parasitoid Verticia fasciventris Malloch (Diptera: Calliphoridae) develops in the head of soldiers of the fungus-growing termite Macrotermes carbonarius (Hagen) (Isoptera: Termitidae). Morphological and behavioral changes in the host were evaluated and the termite castes and stages that were parasitized were identified. The larval emergence process is also described and possible mechanisms for the parasitoid fly's entry into the host body are discussed based on qualitative observations. Only a single larva per host was found. The mature larva pupated outside the host's body by exiting between the abdominal cerci. Parasitized soldiers possess a short and square-shaped head capsule, a pair of notably short mandibles, and a pair of 18-segmented antennae. Although parasitized soldiers were statistically less aggressive than healthy soldiers (P < 0.05), they expressed varying levels of aggression. Both minor and major soldiers can be parasitized and based on evidence from presoldiers, parasitization may begin during the precursor stages of soldiers. However, the stage at which parasitism first occurs has not been determined.
The pupae of Desmometopa sp. (Diptera: Milichiidae) were collected from a human corpse found indoor in active decay stage together with the larvae of Sarcophagidae, Synthesiomyia nudiseta (Wulp), Chrysomya megacephala (Fabricius) and Chrysomya rufifacies (Macquart). This research note is the first report of the Desmometopa sp. recovered from a human corpse in Malaysia.
Misotermes mindeni Disney and Neoh is a solitary endoparasitoid of Macrotermes gilvus (Hagen) (Termitidae: Macrotermitinae), exclusively parasitizing the head of major soldiers. In this study, behavioral and morphological changes in the parasitized termite host were evaluated. We also observed the larval parasitoid emerging from the host. We found that parasitism mainly occurred in termite mounds overgrown with grass and mounds that had been broken up previously for other experiments. The parasitized soldiers showed a significantly lower level of interspecific aggressiveness compared with healthy soldiers (P < 0.05). Parasitized soldiers also changed in habitat preference to one isolated chamber of the nest. This might be an adaptive strategy that facilitates parasitoid dispersal, provides protection to parasitoids, and reduces the risk of parasitism to host colony. An abnormally rounded head capsule and remarkably short mandibles are characteristics of a parasitized soldier. The older larval fly stages were found only in major soldiers. We suggest that parasitization may first start in fourth or even earlier larval termite instars. The fly larva develops in the termite soldier's head capsule and pupates inside the host's body.
Signal fly, Scholastes sp. (Diptera: Platystomatidae) was observed associated with animal carcasses in Malaysia. The first observation was on a monkey carcass, which was killed by using a handgun and immediately placed in a forested area in Gombak, Selangor while the second observation was on a pig that died of natural causes and whose carcass was placed in an oil palm plantation in Tanjung Sepat, Selangor. Both animal carcasses were visited by Scholastes sp. flies during the fresh decomposition period. However, the role Scholastes flies in the decomposition process remains unknown. In this paper, we report the occurrence of Scholastes sp. on animal carcasses in Malaysia for the first time.
The likelihood of dipteran maggots colonizing a corpse due to nocturnal oviposition can be used to challenge the postmortem interval (PMI) estimated assuming diurnal oviposition. Earlier experiments tested nocturnal oviposition behavior by exposing fresh baits once during a single night. In this pilot study, oviposition behavior was studied using beef baits, which, simulating the decay of the body seen in case situations, decomposed inside cages designed to open and close at scheduled intervals during consecutive night or twilight periods. Freshly hatched maggots from diurnally oviposited eggs emerged in control baits on the third day, while a limited number of maggots attributable to nocturnal or twilight oviposition were observed in experimental baits only on the fifth or sixth day, indicating a categorical delay. These results suggest that such delayed and limited nocturnal oviposition is not forensically significant since the larger maggots deriving from diurnal oviposition would be the ones considered when estimating PMI.
During a forensic entomological study conducted in a palm oil plantation in Tg.Sepat, Selangor in September 2007, a spider (Arachnida), Oxyopes sp. (Oxyopidae) was found to predate on a calliphorid fly (Chrysomya rufifacies). The female spider laid a silk thread, or "drag line", behind it as it moved. This spider bites its prey by using a pairs of chelicerae, and injecting venom into the fly. The fly was moving its wing trying to escape, however, it succumbed to the deadly bite.
Two types of municipal solid waste (MSW), newly arrived and 2 weeks old, were sampled from a sanitary landfill in Pulau Pinang, Malaysia at a fortnightly interval and kept under field conditions for 2 weeks. A total of 480 kg of each type of MSW was sampled to study species composition and impact of delays in cover soil applications on filth fly emergence. Out of 960 kg of MSW sampled, 9.2 ± 0.5 flies emerged per kilogram. Weekly adult fly emergence rates of newly arrived and 2-week-old waste did not differ significantly and MSW remained suitable for fly breeding for up to 1 month. Eight species of flies emerged from the MSW: namely, Musca domestica, Musca sorbens, Synthesiomyia nudiseta, Hydrotaea chalcogaster, Chrysomya megacephala, Lucilia cuprina, Hemipyrellia ligurriens and Sarcophaga sp. Newly arrived waste was determined to be the main source for M. domestica, C. megacephala and L. cuprina in the landfill owing to significantly higher mean emergence compared with 2-week-old waste. Musca sorbens was found in newly arrived waste but not in 2-week-old waste, suggesting that the species was able to survive transportation to landfill but unable to survive landfill conditions. Hemipyrellia ligurriens, H. chalcogaster and S. nudiseta were not imported into the landfill with MSW and pre-existing flies in and around the landfill itself may be their source. The results show that landfills can be a major source of fly breeding if cover soil or temporary cover is not applied daily or on a regular schedule.
Measuring wild pollinator services in agricultural production is very important in the context of sustainable management. In this study, we estimated the contribution of native pollinators to mango fruit set production of two mango cultivars Mangifera indica (L). cv. 'Sala' and 'Chok Anan'. Visitation rates of pollinators on mango flowers and number of pollen grains adhering to their bodies determined pollinator efficiency for reproductive success of the crop. Chok Anan failed to produce any fruit set in the absence of pollinators. In natural condition, we found that Sala produced 4.8% fruit set per hermaphrodite flower while Chok Anan produced 3.1% per flower. Hand pollination tremendously increased fruit set of naturally pollinated flower for Sala (>100%), but only 33% for Chok Anan. Pollinator contribution to mango fruit set was estimated at 53% of total fruit set production. Our results highlighted the importance of insect pollinations in mango production. Large size flies Eristalinus spp. and Chrysomya spp. were found to be effective pollen carriers and visited more mango flowers compared with other flower visitors.
A number of species are affected by Sex-Ratio (SR) meiotic drive, a selfish genetic element located on the X-chromosome that causes dysfunction of Y-bearing sperm. SR is transmitted to up to 100% of offspring, causing extreme sex ratio bias. SR in several species is found in a stable polymorphism at a moderate frequency, suggesting there must be strong frequency-dependent selection resisting its spread. We investigate the effect of SR on female and male egg-to-adult viability in the Malaysian stalk-eyed fly, Teleopsis dalmanni. SR meiotic drive in this species is old, and appears to be broadly stable at a moderate (approx. 20%) frequency. We use large-scale controlled crosses to estimate the strength of selection acting against SR in female and male carriers. We find that SR reduces the egg-to-adult viability of both sexes. In females, homozygous females experience greater reduction in viability (sf = 0.242) and the deleterious effects of SR are additive (h = 0.511). The male deficit in viability (sm = 0.214) is not different from that in homozygous females. The evidence does not support the expectation that deleterious side effects of SR are recessive or sex-limited. We discuss how these reductions in egg-to-adult survival, as well as other forms of selection acting on SR, may maintain the SR polymorphism in this species.
Two new black fly species, Simulium (Gomphostilbia) brinchangense and S. (G.) tanahrataense, are described on the basis of reared adult females, males, pupae and larvae from Cameron's Highlands, Peninsular Malaysia. These new species are assigned to the asakoae species-group within Simulium (Gomphostilbia) and taxonomic notes are given to distinguish each new species from six known species in Malaysia. Revised keys to identify all 21 species including 13 species from other countries are provided for females, males, pupae and mature larvae. The species diversity of the asakoae species-group in Cameron's Highlands is briefly noted.
This study investigated the influence of paraquat, a prevalent poison used by suicides, on initial oviposition and development of Chrysomya megacephala (Fabricius) using minced-beef substrates. Paraquat in lethal dose for human (40 mg/kg), two times the lethal dose (80 mg/kg) and five times the lethal dose (200 mg/kg) were mixed thoroughly with respective minced-beef substrates (1 kg each) that were decomposed in a shaded habitat fully protected from rain. Results of four replications of the above experiment revealed that the presence of paraquat neither delayed initial oviposition nor prolonged the developmental stages of C. megacephala. Therefore, estimation of postmortem interval (PMI) based on empirical baseline data obtained using animal models devoid of any poisons would still be appropriate for estimating PMI in paraquat-related deaths.
Cosmopolitan scuttle fly, Megaselia scalaris (Loew) (Diptera: Phoridae) is one of the commonest forensic species recorded colonizing human corpse indoors and in concealed environment. The occurrence of this species in such environments provides a higher evidential value to assist estimation of postmortem interval (PMI) compared to other forensically important dipterans. However, developmental and size data of M. scalaris are still lacking and they are derived from a limited range of thermal values. The objective of this study is to develop the growth model of M. scalaris by emphasizing the size range of larvae and puparia at different constant temperatures. This species was reared in six replicates at eight varying constant temperatures ranging from 23 to 36 °C and cow's liver was provided as food source. Larvae and puparia were sampled at set time intervals and measured by their length and weight. Because interpretation of forensic entomological evidence is subject to application of different techniques, development of M. scalaris is expressed herein by using developmental table, length/morphological stage diagrams and linear/nonlinear estimation methods. From the findings, it is very important to highlight that sexual dimorphism of M. scalaris during post feeding larva and pupa stage could be observed based on size and developmental periods. Mean length and weight ratios of male to female puparia are approximately 0.8 and 0.3-0.5, respectively, indicating sexual dimorphism of this species. Developmental period in female are 4.0-11.4 h (post feeding larval stage), 3.7-24.0 h (pupal stage), and 3.0-20.1 h (total developmental period) longer in male. Due to this dimorphism, PMI estimation using M. scalaris post feeding larva or puparium specimens must be carried out carefully by to avoid inaccuracy and misinterpretation.
Phylogenetic, genealogical and population relationships of Chrysomya bezziana, the Old World screwworm fly (OWSF), were inferred from DNA sequences of mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b), nuclear elongation factor-1α (EF-1α) and nuclear white eye colour (white), using sequences of Chrysomya megacephala and Chrysomya rufifacies as outgroups. Cyt b (717bp, 754 specimens), EF-1α (361bp, 256 specimens) and white (577bp, 242 specimens) were analysed from up to two African and nine Asian countries, including 10 Indonesian islands. We show that OWSF occurs as distinctive African and Asian lineages based on cyt b and white, and that there is a marked differentiation between Sumatran and Javan populations in Indonesia, supported by the genealogy and analysis of molecular variance of cyt b alone. Four cyt b sub-lineages are recognised in Asia: only 2.1 occurs on the Asian mainland, from Yemen to Peninsular Malaysia; only 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4 occur in central Indonesia; 2.4 predominates on New Guinea; and 2.1 co-occurs with others only on Sumatra in western Indonesia. This phylogeography and the genetic distances between cyt b haplotypes indicate pre-historic, natural dispersal of OWSF eastwards into Indonesia and other Malesian islands, followed by vicariant evolution in New Guinea and central Indonesia. OWSF is absent from Australia, where there is surveillance for importation or natural invasion. Judged by cyt b haplotype markers, there is currently little spread of OWSF across sea barriers, despite frequent shipments of Australian livestock through Indonesian seas to the Middle East Gulf region. These findings will inform plans for integrated pest management, which could be applied progressively, for example starting in East Nusa Tenggara (central Indonesia) where OWSF has regional cyt b markers, and progressing westwards to Java where any invasion from Sumatra is unlikely. Cyt b markers would help identify the source of any re-emergence in treated areas.
In Malaysia, maggot debridement therapy (MDT) utilizes maggots of Lucilia cuprina (Wiedemann) to debride necrotic tissue from wound surface, reduce bacterial infection and therefore, enhance wound healing process. To evaluate the sterility of the sterile maggots produced after sterilization process before delivering onto patient wounds. Sterility of sterile maggots is crucial in ensuring the safe usage of MDT and patient's health. Eggs of L. cuprina collected from a laboratory colony were divided into treated group (sterilized) and control group (non-sterilized). Treated group underwent sterilization while eggs from control group were allowed to hatch without sterilization. Sodium hypochlorite and formaldehyde were the main disinfectants used in this sterilization process. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) was used to examine and ascertain the sterility of sterile maggots. SEM results showed that all sterilized L. cuprina eggs and maggots achieved sterility and all were cleared from bacterial contamination. In contrast, all non-sterilized eggs and maggots were found to be colonized by microorganisms. Sterilization method employed to sterilize eggs and maggots used in Malaysia MDT was proven successful and MDT is safe to be used as wound management tools.
Fourth instars larvae of freshwater midge Chironomus javanus (Diptera, Chironomidae) were exposed for a 4-day period in laboratory conditions to a range of copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd), zinc (Zn), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), iron (Fe), aluminium (Al) and manganese (Mn) concentrations. Mortality was assessed and median lethal concentrations (LC(50)) were calculated. LC(50) increased with the decrease in mean exposure times, for all metals. LC(50)s for 96 hours for Cu, Cd, Zn, Pb, Ni, Fe, Al and Mn were 0.17, 0.06, 5.57, 0.72, 5.32, 0.62, 1.43 and 5.27 mg/L, respectively. Metals bioconcentration in C. javanus increases with exposure to increasing concentrations and Cd was the most toxic to C. javanus, followed by Cu, Fe, Pb, Al, Mn, Zn and Ni (Cd > Cu > Fe > Pb > Al > Mn > Zn > Ni). Comparison of LC(50) values for metals for this species with those for other freshwater midges reveals that C. javanus is equally or more sensitive to metals than most other tested dipteran.