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Genus Cuterebra - Rodent and Lagomorph Bot Flies

Cuterebra austeni - male Newly emerged rabbit bot fly w/ cast puparium - Cuterebra buccata female bot fly - Cuterebra approximata - female Syrphidae? - Cuterebra emasculator Bot Fly - Cuterebra Cuterebra species? - Cuterebra fontinella - female Cuterebra americana group - Cuterebra Cuterebra sp.? - Cuterebra emasculator
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon (Calyptratae)
Superfamily Oestroidea
Family Oestridae (Bot Flies)
Subfamily Cuterebrinae (New World Skin Bot Flies)
Genus Cuterebra (Rodent and Lagomorph Bot Flies)
Other Common Names
Rabbit Bots; Rodent Bots
26 spp. in our area(1)
Large flies, typically bumble bee size.
most of NA
Habitat is less important to these flies than the host mammals. Habitat-specific rodents or rabbits means habitat-specific species of bots.
Life Cycle
Females typically deposit eggs in the burrows and "runs" of rodent or rabbit hosts. A warm body passing by the eggs causes them to hatch almost instantly and the larvae glom onto the host. The larvae are subcutaneous (under the skin) parasites of the host. Their presence is easily detected as a tumor-like bulge, often in the throat or neck or flanks of the host. The larvae breathe by everting the anal spiracles out a hole (so they are oriented head-down inside the host). They feed on the flesh of the host, but only rarely does the host die as a result.
Larvae are common. George "Jeff" Boettner tells of live-trapping rodents where up to 80% of the populations had bot parasitism. Adult flies are almost never seen, though in western North America the males are known to "hilltop" from about 9 AM until noon on isolated buttes in arid habitats.