Ultrastructure of preimaginal stages of Piophila megastigmata McAlpine, 1978 (Diptera, Piophilidae): a fly of forensic importance.Parasitol Res 2013; 112(11):3771-88PR
Piophila Fallén, 1810 is a genus of small flies composed of two species: Piophila casei (P. casei) (Linnaeus, 1758), worldwide distributed, and Piophila megastigmata (P. megastigmata) McAlpine, 1978, recently referred in the Palaearctic Region, from the Iberian Peninsula. Both species share ecological niche and are very interesting for forensic purposes, since they are present in carrion in advance stages of decay and have been found to be related to human corpses. The immature stages of P. megastigmata have ever been described, so this paper gives the ultrastructural morphologies of all preimaginal stages of P. megastigmata studied by light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Particular attention is given to pseudocephalon features—antenna, maxillary palps, facial mask, etc.—cephalopharyngeal skeleton, anterior and posterior spiracles, tegumentary sculpturing, and anal division among others. A comparative analysis of the main distinguishing features is made in order to understand how those features evolve along the developmental process, while larvae II and III are morphologically similar to each other, the larva I shows particular features. Larvae of all stages and pupae are easily distinguishable from other Diptera of forensic importance just based on the presence of trichoid sensilla associated to respiratory slits, instead of peristigmatig tufts, as well as on thewell-known disposition of anal papillae. The shapes of both dorsal edge at the basal part of mouthhook and dorsal bridge of cephalopharyngeal skeleton, and the tegumental ornamentationmay be considered as good features to distinguish the Piophila species, especially for P. megastigmata and P. casei . At the SEM level, shape, number, and arrangement of oral combs, oral ridges, sensilla of maxillary palpus, papillae of anterior spiracle, scales of spiracular field, and posterior spiracles represent good features to distinguish P. megastigmata from P. casei, but further studies will be necessary in West-Paleartic specimens of latter species. The key for identifying third instar larvae of forensically important Piophilidae in the Iberian Peninsula has been updated to include P. megastigmata.