Knowledge of necrophagous insects by five groups of justice actors and traditional gravediggers for their application in criminal investigations in the Sudanese and Sudano-Sahelian zones of Burkina Faso

David Zongo, Samuel Fogné Drabo, Aminata Séré, Rahim Romba, Adjima Bougma, Missa Millogo, Noufou Salou, Moctar Zeba, Prospère Kinda, Olivier Gnankine


Forensic entomology is used in criminal investigations for post-mortem dating of cadavers. The aims of this study was to evaluate the endogenous knowledge of necrophagous insects of six target groups of workers in two climatic zones of Burkina Faso for their application in criminal investigations. The survey was conducted among 223 informants splited in six target groups in four cities and eight villages belonging to Sudano-Sahelian and Sudanian climatic zones. The study was conducted on the knowledge of necrophagous insects from exhumed and exposed corpses to the air. Chi-square tests and principal component analysis (PCA) were performed to check for species diversity distributions significant differences in knowledge and climatic zones of study. The different phases of insect succession on post-mortem corpses were cited.

The results showed that knowledge of the species varies from one species to another. The most cited species are Calliphoridae larvae and pupae with a frequency of citation of 16.54% for open corpses Astrapaeus sp. with a frequency of citation of 32.25% for exhumed corpses. The citation of species also varied according to locality climatic zone and function of the informants. The diversity of species cited was greater in the Sudano-Sahelian zone than in the Sudanian zone. Traditional funeral workers and gravediggers cited more species than other justice actors. The species of Chrysomya albiceps (Wiedmann 1819) and Chrysomya sp. and Lucilia sp. are species found to be specific to the West African area and were mentioned for the first time in Burkina Faso. The knowledge of necrophagous insects by the informants in this survey opens new perspectives for entomological expertise in criminal investigations in Burkina Faso

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