First record of Phormia regina (Meigen, 1826) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) from mummies at the Sant’Antonio Abate Cathedral of Castelsardo, Sardinia, Italy

Giorgia Giordani, Fabiola Tuccia, Ignazio Floris, Stefano Vanin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The studies of insects from archaeological contexts can provide an important supplement of information to reconstruct past events, climate and environments. Furthermore, the list of the species present in an area in the past allows the reconstruction of the entomofauna on that area at that time, that can be different from the nowadays condition, providing information about biodiversity changes. In this work, the results of a funerary archaeoentomological study on samples collected from mummified corpses discovered during the restoration of the crypt of the Sant’Antonio Abate Cathedral of Castelsardo (Sardinia, Italy) are reported. The majority of the sampled specimens were Diptera puparia, whereas only few Lepidoptera cocoons and some Coleoptera fragments were isolated. Among Diptera, Calliphoridae puparia were identified as Phormia regina (Meigen, 1826) and Calliphora vicina, (Robineau-Desvoidy, 1830) both species typical of the first colonization waves of exposed bodies. Three puparia fragments were also identified as belonging to a Sarcophaga Meigen, 1826, species (Sarcophagidae). Several Muscidae puparia of the species Hydrotaea capensis (Weidmermann, 1818), a late colonizer of bodies, and typical of buried bodies were also collected. The few moth (Lepidoptera) cocoons were identified as belonging to the family Tineidae. This family comprises species feeding on dry tissues and hair typical of the later phases of the human decomposition. Among Coleoptera a single specimen in the family Histeridae, Saprinus semistriatus (Scriba, 1790) and a single elytra, potentially of a species in the family Tenebrionidae, were also collected. Overall, the samples collected indicated an initial colonization of the bodies in an exposed context, mainly in a warm season. This research allows the finding of elements indicating the presence, at least in the past, of P. regina in Sardinia. This species at the moment seems extinct from Sardinia while it is quite common in the continent.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4176
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2018


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