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Rhodes > Zoology and Entomology > Research > SAFER

Southern African Forensic Entomology Research Laboratory

The Southern African Forensic Entomology Research Laboratory welcomes biologists with a strong interest in performing research in the following areas:

  • Urban forensic entomology
  • Stored-product forensic entomology
  • Medico-legal forensic entomology
  • Environmental forensic entomotoxicology

The intention of this research is to provide evidence that will contribute to the resolution of civil and criminal legal cases in southern Africa, especially where it will promote crime prevention.


Ongoing projects

  • Identification of insects 
  • Developmental biology of insects
  • Spatial and temporal distribution of insects
  • Entomotoxicology


Selected Publications

  • VILLET MH, 2011. African carrion ecosystems and their insect communities in relation to forensic entomology: a review. Pest Technology 5: in press.
  • VILLET MH, AMENDT J, 2011. Advances in entomological methods for estimating time of death. In: Turk EE, ed. Forensic Pathology Reviews. Heidelberg: Humana Press. in press.
  • SZPILA K, VILLET MH, 2011. Morphology and identification of first instar larvae of African blowflies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) commonly of forensic importance. Med. Vet. Entomol.48:738-752. http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/ME10238
  • MIDGLEY JM, RICHARDS CS, VILLET MH, 2010. The utility of Coleoptera in forensic investigations. In: Amendt J, Campobasso CP, Goff ML, Grassberger M, eds. Current Concepts in Forensic Entomology. Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 57-68. http://www.springerlink.com/content/ntv4656460801739/
  • VILLET MH, RICHARDS CS, MIDGLEY JM, 2010. Contemporary precision, bias and accuracy of minimum post-mortem intervals estimated using development of carrion-feeding insects. In: Amendt J, Campobasso CP, Goff ML, Grassberger M, eds. Current Concepts in Forensic Entomology. Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 109-137. http://www.springerlink.com/content/q418835308325032/
  • MIDGLEY JM, VILLET MH, 2009. Development of Thanatophilus micans (Fabricius 1794) (Coleoptera: Silphidae) at constant temperatures. Int. J. Legal Med.123:285-292. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00414-008-0280-0
  • MIDGLEY JM, VILLET MH, 2009. Effect of the killing method on post-mortem change in length of larvae of Thanatophilus micans (Fabricius, 1794) (Coleoptera: Silphidae) stored in 70% ethanol. Int. J. Legal Med.123:103-108. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00414-008-0260-4
  • RICHARDS CS, CROUS KL, VILLET MH, 2009. Models of development for the blow fly sister species Chrysomya chloropyga and C. putoria. Med. Vet. Entomol.23:56-61. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2915.2008.00767.x
  • RICHARDS CS, VILLET MH, 2009. Data quality in thermal summation models of development of forensically important blowflies (Diptera: Calliphoridae): a case study. Med. Vet. Entomol.23:269-276. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2915.2009.00819.x
  • RICHARDS CS, PRICE BW, VILLET MH, 2009. Thermal ecophysiology of seven carrion-feeding blowflies in Southern Africa. Ent. Exp. Appl.131:11-19. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1570-7458.2009.00824.x
  • RICHARDS CS, WILLIAMS KA, VILLET MH, 2009. Predicting geographic distribution of seven blowfly species (Diptera: Calliphoridae) in South Africa. Afr. Entomol.17:170-182. http://dx.doi.org/10.4001/003.017.0207
  • TOURLE RA, DOWNIE DA, VILLET MH, 2009. Flies in the ointment: a morphological and molecular comparison of Lucilia cuprina and L. sericata (Diptera: Calliphoridae) in South Africa. Med. Vet. Entomol.23:6-14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2915.2008.00765.x
  • HARVEY ML, GAUDIERI S, VILLET MH, DADOUR IR, 2008. A global study of forensically significant calliphorids: implications for identification. Forensic Sci. Int.177:66-76. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2007.10.009
  • RICHARDS CS, PATERSON ID, VILLET MH, 2008. Estimating the age of immature Chrysomya albiceps (Diptera: Calliphoridae), correcting for temperature and geographical latitude. Int. J. Legal Med.122:271-279. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00414-007-0201-7
  • RICHARDS CS, VILLET MH, 2008. Factors affecting accuracy and precision of thermal summation models of insect development used to estimate postmortem intervals. Int. J. Legal Med.122:401-408. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00414-008-0243-5
  • VILLET MH, 2007. An inexpensive geometrical micrometer for measuring small, live insects quickly without harming them. Ent. Exp. Appl.122:279-280. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1570-7458.2006.00520.x
  • WILLIAMS KA, VILLET MH 2006. A history of southern African research relevant to forensic entomology. South African Journal of Science 102, 59-65.
  • WILLIAMS KA, VILLET MH, 2006. A new and earlier record of Chrysomya megacephala in South Africa, with notes on another exotic species, Calliphora vicina (Diptera: Calliphoridae). Afr. Invert. 47:347-350.
  • VILLET MH, MACKENZIE B, MULLER WJ, 2006. Larval development of the carrion-breeding flesh fly Sarcophaga (Liosarcophaga) tibialis Macquart (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) at constant temperatures. Afr. Entomol. 14:357-366.
  • HARVEY ML, MANSELL MW, VILLET MH, DADOUR IR, 2003. Molecular identification of some forensically important blowflies of southern Africa and Australia. Med. Vet. Entomol. 17:363-369.
  • MUSVASVA E, WILLIAMS KA, MULLER WJ, VILLET MH, 2001. Preliminary observations on the effects of hydrocortisone and sodium methohexital on development of Sarcophaga (Curranea) tibialis Macquart (Diptera: Sarcophagidae), and implications for estimating post mortem interval. Forensic Sci. Int. 120:37-41.

Last Modified: Fri, 18 May 2018 14:08:50 SAST