Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name



Biological Sciences


Blow flies, Calliphoridae, Carrion, Forensic entomology, Geospatial technology


S. VanLaerhoven





Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) are important insects due to their role in carrion decomposition, myiasis, and forensic entomology. Many studies have observed generalized habitat preferences of the adult flies, such as shady and sunny, rural, and urban, and seasonal, but not explicitly based on the different nutritional resources. In contrast, this study examines the relationships between adult blow fly species prevalence across five land use types, three traffic volumes, three levels of roadkill density, and three seasons with a novel sampling protocol focused on predicted carrion resource availability. Blow flies were trapped at 44 locations across Windsor-Essex County, ON during the Spring, Summer, and Fall of 2020. Adult blow flies were collected at each site once during each season with a POP! Reusable fly trap baited with aged pork liver. A total of 4,649 blow flies from 12 species were identified. A geodatabase was created using geospatial technology to visually identify the land use elements within/surrounding each sampling site. Using the geodatabase, statistical analyses were performed to determine the level of relationship between blow fly prevalence and each land-use parameter. The highest blow fly diversity was associated with habitats having higher levels of waste and lower human populations, especially near waste landfills. The lowest diversity and abundance were observed in the commercial land-use element. Species richness and abundance was highest during the summer and the lowest in the fall. The relationships observed between blow fly trap catches and land use on a seasonal basis infer the seasonal resources utilized by different species across a spatio-temporal landscape. By relating blow fly species resource use to habitat prevalence, we gain a greater understanding of the coexistence mechanisms within the Calliphoridae and provide species-specific ecological knowledge that may aid in the use of blow flies within forensic investigations.