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Genus Cuterebra - Rodent and Lagomorph Bot Flies

Bot fly - Cuterebra bajensis Unknown Larva - Cuterebra Diptera Identification needed - Cuterebra Red Eyed Bee - Cuterebra Cuterebra fontinella fontinella - Cuterebra fontinella unknown fly? - Cuterebra Cuterebra bot fly - Cuterebra bot fly - Cuterebra
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
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
reviewed in (1)
Explanation of Names
Cuterebra Clark 1815
26 spp. in our area(2), ~70 total(3)
Large (bumble bee size)
key to species in (1)
New World, incl. 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 the west the males are known to "hilltop" from ~9AM until noon on isolated buttes in arid habitats.
Works Cited
1.North American Species of Cuterebra, the Rabbit and Rodent Bot Flies (Diptera: Cuterebridae)
Curtis W. Sabrosky. 1986. Entomological Society of America, College Park Maryland.
2.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.