Crickets and pillbugs feed on human remains

Paul Lenhart

Crickets and pillbugs feed on human remains

Insects love dead bodies. Blow flies, beetles, and other bugs flock to decomposing remains to feed, lay eggs, or prey on others at the scene. But entomologists were recently surprised to find two new creepy-crawlers nibbling on human flesh. While observing how carrion insects naturally assemble on a decaying human body, scientists witnessed the bush cricket Pediodectes haldemani (pictured above) and pillbug Armadillidium cf. vulgare munching on the corpse. The behavior had not been seen in either species before and left small marks that could be misinterpreted as drug abuse, defense wounds, or torture in forensic investigations, the researchers warn. The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Medical Entomology, describes in gory detail how the two arthropods fed on the cadaver.

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