Image Gallery: Decomposition - Corpse Fauna

Many kinds of organisms live by feeding on dead bodies. In the process, their activities result in the decomposition of the body and the recycling of nutrients. The dominant groups of organisms involved in decomposition are bacteria, flies, beetles, mites and moths. Other animals, mainly parasitoid wasps, predatory beetles and predatory flies, feed on the animals that feed on the corpse. A dead body is therefore an ecosystem of its own, in which different fauna arrive and depart from the corpse at different times. The arrival time and growth rates of insects inhabiting corpses are used by forensic scientists to determine the circumstances surrounding suspicious deaths. Please note - this gallery contains strong graphic images and descriptions.