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Cuterebra fontinella - female

Cuterebra fontinella - Female
Kennebunkport, York County, Maine, USA
August 11, 2011
Size: 1.6 cm

Images of this individual: tag all
Cuterebra fontinella - female Cuterebra fontinella - female

Moved from Flies.

Cuterebra fontinella fontinella female
Wow impressive number of eggs from that gal! That would make for one very unhappy mouse! The white rump combined with the side black spot and the dark back make this Cuterebra fontinella fontinella (see recent BugGuide post today for the other subspecies C. fontinella grisea which has a whitish back and no side spot). Fun to see them both on the same day. This is a mouse bot which specializes on using white-footed mice, Peromyscus leucopus, as a host. People have said these females can lay over a thousand eggs. This is pretty good photo proof of nearly that many! Be careful not to get those eggs in an open wound or touch your eye with it. They don't get in people very often, but it can happen.
Jeff Boettner

Thanks for the ID!
So are you sure that these are eggs? I have examined them and they do look like eggs; if they are eggs, what should I do with them?

Yep, those are eggs!
They should only hatch at the temperature of the host mammal, whatever the temp of a white footed mouse is... Most likely they will die on their own. She may not have even mated, in which case they will just collapse after a few days. I wish we knew someone doing studies with them, as hard to get females to mate and lay in captivity. But I am not really set up to have a mouse colony at the moment. Just keep them away from children and pets.
Can be put in a jar and thrown away with the trash.

Thanks again!
I placed the two egg-infested containers in a bag and threw it away with the trash, as you suggested. I am keeping the adult for my collection. I'll let you know if I ever get any more eggs!

notes on pinning
I should mention that if you are keeping it in a collection, it is best to let it live as long as you can in captivity. Cuterebra store a ton of fat reserves as larvae because they can't feed as adults. So that means if you pin a freshly emerged one before it has burned off some of the fat, you will often end up with a really greasy specimen- and the white hairs may turn really dark, once it has sat around on the pin for a while. Since they don't feed anyway, it is pretty easy to have as a pet (except maybe for your messy eggs) and let it burn fat- the danger is that it may get a little beat up in a cage- but to me it is worth the risk as I have destroyed a number of these guys before I got it down pat. As long as it burns some fat for a few days, it should be fine. Jeff

I did keep it as long as I could. It died on the same day that I disposed of the eggs.

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