Forensic Entomology for the Crime Scene Investigator
Forensic entomology is the use of insects and their arthropod relatives to aid legal investigations. The proper identification of the insect and arthropod species present in a forensic entomology case is important. The genus/species identification helps the forensic entomologist retrieve the correct developmental data and distribution ranges needed for the case. An incorrect identification can lead to a potential error in the estimations and effect the estimation of the total postmortem interval.
Cost: $0-225. This course takes 15 hours to complete, on average.
At the end of this course, students will be able to:
Define entomology and forensic entomology
Describe three basic areas of forensic entomology
Define the body regions of an insect
List the taxonomic categories of insects
Describe the development stages of a fly
Discuss the forensic importance of flies
Describe the basic anatomy of a beetle
Describe the differences between the forensically important beetles
Discuss how insects and arthropods, other than flies and beetles, are forensically important
Describe the scavenging arthropods and their significance to forensic investigations
Define postmortem interval
Describe how entomological evidence can help in estimating postmortem interval
List the factors that can influence the insect succession and insect development
Describe sampling of arthropod specimens for collection.
Define ecological succession and how it relates to forensic entomology
Describe the five stages of decomposition and the insects associated
Discuss the different applications that DNA analyses can be used for in forensic entomology
Describe drug and toxin impact on insects and insect developments
Course Structure and Schedule
This is a non-credit course offering 2.68 ILUs. (What is ILU?) Average completion time for the course is 15 hours. The course cost is $225 per registration (with the exception of public lab employees, law enforcement, public attorneys, and federal employees – please see "Registration Information" below). A certificate of completion will be issued to students successfully meeting course requirements.
Table of Contents:
Introduction to Forensic Entomology
Flies of Forensic Importance
Beetles of Forensic Importance
Other Arthropods of Forensic Importance
Collection, Preservation, and Sampling
Insect Succession and Development
DNA and Drug Chemistry Applications in Forensic Entomology
There are no prerequisites for this class. A printable version of the course content is available in PDF format in the course library for future reference. Course readings are also available in PDF format.
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Adobe Flash Player
There are free software plug-ins available in the Getting Started area of the course.
Basic computer skills required (i.e. turning on your computer, navigating the websites, etc.). The course is user-friendly but support is available if needed.
Samantha Neal is the Instructional Coordinator for the Forensic Science Initiative, a program that develops research, scientific resources, and professional training for forensic scientists and related professionals. Her primary responsibilities are the development and coordination of online continuing education courses in forensic science and continuing education programs. She has undergraduate degrees in both Forensic and Investigative Sciences and Chemistry.
Contact: email@example.com, 304-293-5836
Sarah is a Forensic Science Technician with Forensic Science Initiative. She has a Bachelor's in Biology from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Sarah has also earned her Master's in Forensic Science from Towson University. During her graduate studies, Sarah was involved in research funded by the NIJ. The project focused on finding new serological tests using DNA as the substrate. Her responsibilities include assisting with online classes, developing a relationship with vendors, and helping with training. Sarah is a native of Wyckoff, NJ. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-293-9540.
Please read below to determine your eligibility. If you have any eligibility questions please contact Forensic Science Initiative at FSI@mail.wvu.eduBEFORE you register. Registration is accepted year-round for this course.
For general FAQs for the FSI online courses please click here.