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Exploring Evidence Series: Forensic Entomology--Maggots

Just a little bit about maggots and forensic evidence

Flies and Maggots.

Just the sight of maggots sends chills up your spine, right? But maggots have a special place in a forensic investigation. In fact, maggots can provide valuable information such as the time of death of the decedent.

This mini course, part of our Exploring Evidence Series, provides an introduction to the wonderful world of maggots!

Yep, you read that right!

Once a person dies, his or her body starts to decompose, and depending upon the environmental conditions, the body will decompose at various rates and go through various different stages. By collecting insects feeding on the body, found on the body, and surrounding the body, investigators are able to determine estimated time of death.

Flies are great at discovering dead bodies, often time before beetles arrive. However, it is the blow fly that is usually associated with a decaying body. Blow flies usually arrive in the early stages of decomposition and can provide the most accurate estimated time of death.

After completing this course, you will be able to discuss and:

observe the effects of maggot activity on decedent to improve your learning process

explain why entomology evidence is important in an investigation and how it can help prove/disprove testimony

gain a basic understanding of forensic entomology and improve working knowledge

Course includes practicums, quiz, discussion activities, and case studies.

Please note this course includes pictures some may consider disturbing or graphic in nature.






Your Instructor


Terri Armenta/Forensic Training
Terri Armenta/Forensic Training

Terri has been teaching forensic science and criminal justice courses for over 15 years. Her education and experience includes business management, science, law enforcement, and forensics. She has a MS in Forensic Science (emphasis in Investigations) and loves to teach and educate others in forensic science and criminal justice topics and techniques. She is the founder of Forensic Training Unlimited LLC (FTU), which is located in Southern California. FTU offers hands-on training, workshops, seminars, and online training courses.

She has several POST certificates, has trained with Los Angeles County Coroner, Orange County (CA) Sheriff Department, and holds professional memberships in Southern California Association of Fingerprint Officers, International Association for Identification, Latino Peace Officers Association, and the California State Division of the International Association of Identification.

She has presented at the International Association for Identification, served as a guest lecturer in forensic and criminal justice topics, and as an Adjunct Instructor at several colleges.

Terri, who holds teaching credentials, is passionate about bringing students closer to their forensic career goals.

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Class Curriculum


  What is Forensic Entomology?
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  Collecting Entomological Evidence
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  Collection Rules of Arthropod Evidence
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  Forensic Entomology and Death Investigations
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  Case Study: Elder Neglect
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  Case Study: Sylvia Hunt
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  Case: Mummified Skull
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  Injuries and Maggots
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  Course Practicum: Maggots
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  Course Practicum: Skeletonized Cadaver
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  Course Practicum Discussion Question
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  What Did You Learn?
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