Life post-death: Colonization of a bat carcass by Microcerella halli (Engel, 1931) (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) in a Neotropical cave


  • Simão Dias Vasconcelos Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Centro de Biociências, Departamento de Zoologia, Laboratório de Insetos de Importância Forense. Recife, PE, Brasil.
  • Eder Barbier Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Centro de Biociências, Departamento de Zoologia, Laboratório de Ciências Aplicadas à Conservação da Biodiversidade. Recife, PE, Brasil.
  • Taciano Moura Barbosa Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Centro de Biociências, Departamento de Microbiologia e Parasitologia, Laboratório de Insetos e Vetores. Natal, RN, Brasil.



Microcerella, Mormoopid bats, Post-mortem interval, Flesh flies


Caves are habitats characterized by low light or total darkness, whose fauna is largely composed of animals that adapt to dark environments, such as bats and many arthropods. Here, we present the first record of bat carcass colonization by Diptera larvae in a cave in the Neotropics. Twenty-one adult specimens of Microcerella halli (Sarcophagidae), seven males and 14 females, emerged from larvae collected in a carcass of Pteronotus gymnonotus (Mormoopidae) found in a twilight zone, about 15 m from the cave entrance. The mean time between carcass collection and adult emergence was 17.99 ± 0.44 days. As colonization by M. halli only occurs after death, we estimated the mean duration of the pupal stage – by recording daily pupation and emergence data – and attempted a preliminary estimate of the post-mortem interval, which indicated that larviposition occurred at least 24 h before carcass collection. Furthermore, we discussed the fact that M. halli females can find and colonize carcasses in low light environments, reinforcing the forensic potential of the species.


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Author Biography

Taciano Moura Barbosa, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Centro de Biociências, Departamento de Microbiologia e Parasitologia, Laboratório de Insetos e Vetores. Natal, RN, Brasil.

Atualmente está vinculado no Departamento de Zoologia da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, onde atua em pesquisas em ecologia de dípteros necrófagos.


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How to Cite

Vasconcelos, S. D., Barbier, E., & Barbosa, T. M. (2022). Life post-death: Colonization of a bat carcass by Microcerella halli (Engel, 1931) (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) in a Neotropical cave. Papéis Avulsos De Zoologia, 62, e202262065.



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