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CODE 104247
SEMESTER 1° Semester
MODULES Questo insegnamento è un modulo di:



The module of Forensic Entomology and Zoology will provide the student the Zoological and Entomological knowledge applicable in civil and criminal cases. The module will present how the knowledge about insects can be applied in violent crime, in case of neglect people but as well in infestation of stored product and indoor environments. Theory will be supported and illustrated with real cases. The module will also introduce the student to the illegal traffic of animals and on the illegal trade of products deriving from endangered and protected animal species.


Upon successful completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate a:

  1. general understanding of application fields of Forensic Zoology and Forensic Entomology
  2. general understanding of the role of insect in human and other animals’ life (food contamination, diseases transmission, etc)
  3. general understanding of the colonization process of cadaver, food and other goods, and environment and of the factors affecting the process.
  4. comprehensive understanding of the factor affecting insect development
  5. general knowledge of the systematics of the insects of forensic interest
  6. systematic understanding of the contribution of insects to PMI (post mortem interval) estimation
  7. systematic understanding of the contribution of insects to season of death estimation
  8. systematic understanding of the contribution of insects to post mortem transfer identification
  9. general knowledge of the laws about animal trafficking 
  10. comprehensive understanding of the body and environment alterations caused by animals 

The student will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  1. correctly sample, fix and study insects of forensic interest 
  2. identify the different insect developmental stages
  3. identify the species of insects involved in body colonisation
  4. identify the species of insects associated with food, human goods and urban environments
  5. to produce a thermal reconstruction 
  6. critically estimate the PMI for a deceased individual using the entomological approach
  7. to evaluate body, object and environment alterations caused by insects and other animals
  8. Writing an official Report based on the previous points
  9. Defend verbaly a forensic entomology report


The module consists of lectures, discussions on real cases and laboratory activities. Since activities are planned to develop data analysis skills and to apply the acquired knowledge during practical and methodological activities, attendance at lessons and lab activity is strongly recommended.

Lectures in the classroom are delivered through multimedia presentations.


The modul sybbalus consists on the presentation and discussion of the following topics

The death and the PMI estimation

Decomposition, mummification, adipocere formation

Insect: General Anatomy, Biology  and Physiology

Insect development and reproduction

Factors affecting the insect development

Systematics (Phylogeny and classification)

General Insect identification

Insects of forensic interest

The colonization waves 

Factors affecting the body colonisation

Temperature and thermal reconstruction

Entomotoxicology and DNA in Forensic entomology

Sampling, preparation, identification

PMI estimation using the entomological approach

Food pest

Insects and other animals from urban contexts

Lesions and alterations caused by animal activities

Law about animal trade and trafficking

Law about animal contaminants


All the slides used during the lectures and other teaching material will be available on AulaWeb at the end of each cycle of lessons / laboratory activities together with other selected papers in pdf format.

The suggested books are available together with other books for further study at the lecturer office.

Recommended texts for any further information:

Tilstone, W.J.; Hastrup, M.L.; Hald, C. 2012 Fisher’s Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation, First International Edition. CRC Press

David B. Rivers, Gregory A. Dahlem 2014. The Science of Forensic Entomology. Willey Blackwell


Exam Board



SIMONE DI PIAZZA (President Substitute)

PAOLA MALASPINA (President Substitute)

MIRCA ZOTTI (President Substitute)



For lessons start and timetable go to the link:

Please check also this module Aulaweb page for timetable updates dependent on the sanitary and epidemic situation.



The final mark is subdivided in assesments: a practical with written report and an oral assessment.

The practical test with the written report is related to a case and will cover the lectures and practicals topics.

Students are admitted to the oral exam if the assessment of their written exam is at least 18/30 

The oral examination consists of the presentation of the case reported in the written report and in answering to questions on the case.

The final mark is given by the arithmetic average between the scores of the two assesments. The oral examination can be sustained both in the same session as the practical test or in subsequent sessions published on the UNIGE website.


Details on how to prepare for the exam and the degree of detail required for each topic will be provided at the beginning of the course and reiterated during lectures and lab activities.

The written report  will verify the effective acquisition of the knoweldge and the the methods of investigation typical of the discipline. The student wull work on a real scenario.

The oral examination will assess the exposition ability of the student and their capacity to defend the conclusion of the case investigation.

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
07/02/2024 09:00 GENOVA Scritto + Orale
20/02/2024 09:00 GENOVA Scritto + Orale