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Morphological characterization and keys to immature forms, and phylogeny of neotropical Chrysomyinae species (Insecta, Diptera, Calliphoridae) of forensic importance

Grant number: 23/04986-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2024
Effective date (End): February 28, 2027
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Parasitology - Entomology and Malacology of Parasites and Vectors
Principal Investigator:Patricia Jacqueline Thyssen
Grantee:Aline Marrara Do Prado
Host Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


Calliphoridae (Insecta, Diptera, Oestroidea) is a family of flies with more than 1,500 species distributed worldwide and at least 70 occur in the Neotropical region. Most calliphorids are necrophagous, so the association of their immatures from the first hours after death to more advanced stages of cadaveric decomposition has been commonly reported. In the forensic field, information about the biology of many of these species can be useful to estimate the postmortem interval, provided they are correctly and safely identified. Immature specimens, mainly larvae, are the most frequently collected forms and also the most challenging with regard to identification. The reduced number of anatomical characters available to reach a specific diagnosis, low interspecific variation and the lack of description of the immature forms of many species contribute to amplify this taxonomic impediment. Aiming to overcome part of these gaps, this study will morphologically characterize the immatures (eggs, larvae and pupae) of necrophagous and Neotropical Chrysomyinae (Calliphoridae) species, from the examination of external and internal anatomical characters by common microscopy and by scanning electron microscopy. Subsequently, the ordering of characters and their states in a matrix will allow the elaboration of traditional and computational multiple access identification keys. Molecular characterization of COI, ITS2, 16S and 28S genes from species whose information is not available in public databases will be conducted, aiming to provide alternative means of diagnosis. Considering the divergences about the evolutionary history of Chrysomyinae that can promote instability in the understanding of the taxonomy and systematics of the Calliphoridae, the phylogenetic relationships through Maximum Parsimony, Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference will be tested from a morphological database of larvae from third instar, molecular and concatenating morphological and molecular data. At the end of this study it is expected: (i) that the immature forms of some species of Neotropical Chrysomyinae will be described for the first time; (ii) expand the number of taxonomic keys available for immatures as well as the number of taxa contained in these respective instruments; (iii) Increase the understanding of relationships within Chrysomyinae and, consequently, Calliphoridae.

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