Key to the forensically important beetle (Insecta: Coleoptera) families of North America



Beetles (Coleoptera) are one of the most common insect orders associated with remains making them useful in forensic investigations. Reliably identifying the insect composition throughout the decomposition process is vital to accurately using insect succession data. To date, there are no pictorial keys to identify families of forensically important beetles in North America. Here we present a dichotomous pictorial key for beetles that can be associated with carrion, encompassing beetles commonly encountered on decomposing remains and other families that occur less frequently, totaling 21 families. This key is specifically designed to be utilized by professionals and students without the need for specific morphology training.