Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ingi Agnarsson


Blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) are among the most dominant and conspicuous insects in the decomposition process. They are important in forensic entomology to determine time of death and, in certain situations, cause of death or relocation of a body. Insects are now included as standard operating procedures in crime scene investigations in many countries, however, this is not standard procedure in the Caribbean area due to lack of knowledge of insects involved in cadaveric decomposition. Successful application of forensic entomology depends on solid underlying data. Our main goal is to advance the knowledge of Calliphoridae in the Caribbean to enable forensic entomology studies. We performed a mega-transect across the Caribbean and extensively collected flies attracted to rotten meat baits during five years from 2011 to 2015. Overall we collected 61,332 flies of which 34,650 were Calliphoridae. We sampled 16 of the 18 species of forensically important Caribbean Calliphoridae and three continental species. We determine the diversity and distribution of Calliphoridae in the Caribbean. We also present a thorough DNA barcode dataset, covering the geographic range of most species in the region. Finally we established phylogenetic relationships among Calliphoridae species and test biogeographical hypotheses, and patterns of diversification and endemism in the Caribbean. In sum, this is the most comprehensive study of the family Calliphoridae from the Caribbean that will open the door for future research on forensic entomology in the region.



Number of Pages

178 p.