<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 27, Issue 3, September 2019

Rom J Leg Med27(3)269-271(2019)
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine

Severe post mortem damages by ants on a human corpse

T. Bonacci, M. Benecke, C. Scapoli, V. Vercillo, M. Pezzi

Abstract: Ants are known to colonize corpses during all stages of decomposition. Since they are also known to predate necrophagous insects, they may affect forensic investigations not only because of possible misinterpretations of skin lesions but also because of removal of dipteran and coleopteran colonizers. We report a case of skin damages on a human corpse found in late spring in a suburban area of Cosenza (Region Calabria, Southern Italy) caused by activity of Tapinoma nigerrimum (Nylander) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). During external examination on site and autopsy, numerous ants were observed feeding on the body but no other insect species was found. We discuss the appearance of skin lesions, the possible role of T. nigerrimum in interfering with colonization by necrophagous insects and its consequences on forensic investigations.
Keywords: ants, necrophagous insects, post-mortem skin lesions, Tapinoma nigerrimum.

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