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Postmortem Skin Damage Due to Ants: Description of 3 Cases

Ventura, Francesco MD; Gallo, Massimo MD; De Stefano, Francesco MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: June 2010 - Volume 31 - Issue 2 - p 120-121
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e3181d3db89
Case Report

Ants postmortem actions on a dead body can result in skin damage, featuring traumatic antemortem or in limine vitae events. Three observed cases are reported here where skin damages by ants' predatory activity led us to differentiate from accidental or voluntary injuries.

Described cases show how the relevant skin lesions and consequential hemorrhage due to the postmortem action of these hymenoptera can be confused with antemortem injuries.

From the Department of Legal Medicine, University of Genova, Genova, Italy.

Manuscript received November 14, 2008; accepted February 8, 2009.

Figures can be viewed in color at

Reprints: Francesco Ventura, MD, Department of Legal Medicine, University of Genova, via De' Toni 12, 16132, Genova, Italy. E-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.