About Fly Stains

Several species of flies can hinder investigations of violent crimes by leaving stains (regurgitate and feces) that can be easily mistaken for human body fluids.

At present, there is no methodology available to reliably distinguish these contaminating insect artifacts (i.e., stains) produced by flies or any other insects that feed on a corpse from stains derived from human body fluids.

Current approaches depend on visual and contextual analyses, which are then subjectively interpreted based on the experience of the forensic expert.

My research team at Loyola University Maryland received funding from the National Institute of Justice to develop a quantitative method for distinguishing digestive stains (regurgitate and defecatory stains) produced by necrophagous and necrophilous flies that associate with human remains.

The team is led by David B. Rivers, Professor of Biology and Director of Forensic Studies at Loyola University Maryland.

He received his B.S. in Biology from Ball State University, a Ph.D. in Entomology with a concentration in Insect Physiology from the Ohio State University, and was a NIH post-doctoral fellow in Cellular and Molecular Parasitology at the University of Wisconsin.

Professor Rivers is co-author of the critically acclaimed textbook  'The Science of Forensic Entomology' and conducts research in several areas involving necrophagous flies and parasitic wasps as they relate to legal investigations.