Acoustic monitoring of carrion fly activity on human remains: a preliminary study

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We present the first study on the use of sound recordings to assess the activity of carrion flies as an alternative to labour intensive physical capture and identification with limited time resolution. Daily recordings were made of the fly activity on human cadavers in a simulated disaster scenario at the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER). The recordings were manually analysed for flight sounds and compared to the local environmental data. The results showed that the number of flight sounds was significantly affected by the temperature, daylight, and moderate to high rainfall but not by humidity. Reference recordings were also made of Blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae), Flesh flies (Diptera: Sarcophagidae), House flies (Diptera: Muscidae) and the Black Soldier flies (Stratiomyidae: Hermetia illucens) in a commercial fly farm and used to build a statistical classification model to test the feasibility of audio recognition for successional studies. Successional arrival and departure patterns were not observed for the recorded flies, although this could be the result of ineffective audio classification algorithm. Further in-depth studies are currently being done on different species and variations within the same species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-814
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Journal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number6
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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