Seasonal variation of the species complex of necrophagous fly communities from a dry deciduous forest landscape
Keywords:Forensic entomology, Decomposition, Species composition, Biomonitoring, Seasonality
A plethora of necrophagous insect species exist on or around a cadaver, and a certain chronological sequence of colonization is expected to occur based on their preference, enabling microbial decomposition and aiding in maintaining ecosystem balance. Necrophagous flies comprise the foremost and often the most significant carrion entomofauna, playing crucial ecological roles in the decomposition process. They are therefore significant from both forensic entomological and ecological standpoints. Calliphorids, sarcophagids, and muscids constitute the predominant families of necrophagous flies to colonize carcasses. In the present study, a total of 24 species of necrophagous flies belonging to six dipteran families from three sites of Sonamukhi Protected Forest, Bankura have been documented seasonally. The dipteran families documented in the present study are Calliphoridae, Sarcophagidae, Muscidae, Phoridae, Stratiomyidae, and Sepsidae. The present research, a comprehensive account of the seasonal variations of necrophagous fly communities from a dry, deciduous forest landscape, the first of its kind conducted from this region displayed a diverse necrophagous species composition, consisting of 24 species under 12 genera from 6 families. Notably, out of the 24 species recorded in the present study, a total of 4 species were recorded for the first time from this state. Taxa richness tends to decline as environmental quality, favourable climatic conditions decline. The current study reveals that, on a seasonal note, pre-monsoon > monsoon > post-monsoon is favourable for necrophagous community growth and development. Thus, the relevance of the present study is not only limited to the medico-legal forensic entomological context but is also focused on assessing the risk status of the study sites in and around the Sonamukhi forest area with the help of ecological indices and biomonitoring of the study area. Consequently, the presence or absence of the indicator species or indicator community reflects the prevailing environmental conditions.