TAMUS reports: Blow flies as environmental samplers
May 25, 2021
By The Texas A&M University System National Laboratories Office
Researchers from the Texas A&M University Department of Entomology and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) are investigating how blow flies could act as environmental monitors for medical, biosecurity, and forensic purposes. This collaboration is made possible by the Texas A&M University System National Laboratories Office and LANL.
Aaron Tarone, Ph.D. and Jeffrey Tomberlin, Ph.D. from Texas A&M, and Migun Shakya, Ph.D., Andrew Bartlow, Ph.D. and Jeanne Fair, Ph.D. from LANL are investigating blow flies and their microbiomes. Their goal is to illuminate how these flies can be used as environmental monitors.
Blow flies feed and can develop on decomposing animals and migrate to other locations either through flight or by “hitchhiking” in vehicles (animals, birds, etc.). They locate dead vertebrates quickly, partly because of their chemosensory capabilities. Since they primarily feed on animal remains, they can act as vectors or carriers for a variety of pathogens.