Fundamentals of Forensic Entomology

D-3148. Portrait of Bernie Machen and Aaron Hoover for inside cover of president's speeches book.

This course is designed to explore the various ways that insects and related arthropods can and have been used as evidence in a court of law, and how they can assist in solving crimes. In this basic course, participants will learn the history of forensic entomology, the basics of insect biology, succession and ecology, and an introduction to the different sub-disciplines of this field of entomology. A review of the major insect players used in assisting with crime scene investigations will be discussed. The course will also cover several actual cases and videos involved in forensic entomology. 

Course Objectives

  • Understand the history and scope of forensic entomology
  • Understand and explain how insects and related arthropods can become valuable evidence in a court of law
  • Explain the biology and life histories of insects of forensic importance
  • Understand and describe the sub-disciplines of forensic entomology


  • Forensic Entomology and the Law: Scope and Status of this Science
  • History of Forensic Entomology (Part 1)
  • History of Forensic Entomology (Part 2)
  • Life Histories, Metamorphosis, Term Definitions, and Biology
  • Major Orders and Families of Forensically Important Insects
  • Forensic Entomology: Sub-disciplines of the Science (1) Stored Product
  • Forensic Entomology: Sub-disciplines of the Science (2) Urban
  • Forensic Entomology: Sub-disciplines of the Science (3) Medico-legal


Richard W. Merritt, PhD, D-ABFE

About the instructor: Dr. Richard W. Merritt, Ph.D. is currently University Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University specializing in forensic entomology and aquatic entomology.  He has conducted extensive research and published papers and book chapters in forensic entomology and assisted police departments, detectives, and governmental agencies with death scene investigations and other areas of forensic science involving insects. He has taught courses in forensic entomology and has testified as an expert witness in over 4trials involving forensic insects in criminal cases, and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Entomology (ABFE), and a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS). He also has received the Life Time Achievement Award from this Academy. He has appeared on Discovery Channel’s New Detectives, Court TV, CBS Early Morning Show, Cold Case Files, and CSI Special Features.


Registration is online – It’s fast, safe and convenient. To register with your Visa, MasterCard, or American Express, please visit our secure, online registration website.

  • If the course is not listed on the registration page, then enrollment in the course is currently closed.

Registration Fee: $250

Credits: 16 CE Hours – 1.6 CEUs

Getting Started

Outline and Schedule


  • This course is taught entirely online as a self-paced independent study. The course will be delivered using the UF centrally supported learning management system, eLearning. Students can access eLearning by visiting, clicking the blue “Log In to Continuing Education Button”, and logging in with the information used to enroll in the course.

 Requirements for Course Completion

  • In order to earn credit for this course, participants must complete a self-assessment evaluation at the end of each section and pass a final exam with a score of 80% or higher. Three chances to pass the course will be given. If a passing score is not earned by the third attempt, the participant must re-enroll in the course.


If you have issues with the course content, please reach out to the contact listed below. Please allow 48 hours for a response.

  • Email:
  • Phone: (352) 265-0680 ext. 72047

For any additional questions, please contact the Maples Center Administrative Team.