Barcoding forensically important rove beetles (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) in Belgium

Policy Concern Category: Forensics

Rove beetles are early-stage visitors on corpses. They deposit their eggs on the corpse and the emerging larvae feed on fly larvae. The duration of development from egg to adult is species specific and can be used in forensics to estimate the post-mortem interval. A correct identification of all rove beetle life stages is thus important for crime investigators. This species identification can be facilitated by DNA barcoding, provided that a reliable reference library is available. At present, the forensically important species of Western Europe are not, or only poorly, represented in public sequence databases. In order to remediate this gap, this project aims at constructing a reference library for 48 rove beetles species of forensic importance found in Belgium, by DNA barcoding previously identified by expert entomologists voucher material from the collections of the RBINS and the University of Liège (Gembloux). This new dataset of reference DNA barcodes can be queried to identify all different life stages of rove beetles collected by forensic investigators to help in their legal cases. Depending on the beetle species and the stage of development encountered, investigators can estimate the post-mortem interval or even to reveal if corpse were transported.

BopCo Coordinator: Kenny Meganck

Publications & Presentations:

  • Meganck, K., Smitz, N., Gombeer, S., Van Bourgonie, YR., Backeljau, T. & De Meyer, M. 'DNA barcoding for forensics: experiences from three years of BopCo'. 8th International Barcode of Life Conference, 17–20 June 2019. Trondheim, Norway.
  • Meganck, K., Desmyter, S., Francis, F., Dekoninck, W., Backeljau, T. & De Meyer, M. ‘Solving crimes: A forensic rove beetles (Staphylinidae) barcode database for Belgium’. 7th International Barcode of Life (iBOL) Conference, 20-24 November 2017, Kruger National Park, South Africa.
  • Meganck, K., Desmyter, S., Dekoninck, W., Backeljau, T. & De Meyer, M. ‘Constructing a DNA barcode database of Belgian rove beetles (Staphylinidae) and its application in forensic cases’. 23rd Congress of Zoology, 16-17 December 2016, Antwerp, Belgium and "Entomology in Belgium" Symposium, 2 December 2016, Brussels, Belgium.

Partners & Collaborators: National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology; Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (ULiège); Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences





Database: not yet published

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith