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Species Cuterebra lepusculi - Cottontail Rabbit Botfly

Rabbit Bot Fly  - Cuterebra lepusculi - male Rabbit Bot Fly  - Cuterebra lepusculi - male Rabbit Bot Fly  - Cuterebra lepusculi - male Rabbit Bot Fly  - Cuterebra lepusculi - male Rabbit Bot Fly - Cuterebra lepusculi - female Rabbit Bot Fly - Cuterebra lepusculi - female
Classification
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)
No Taxon (buccata group)
Species lepusculi (Cottontail Rabbit Botfly)
Identification
The lid shot shows the two spots in the red eyes. This disappears shortly after death. Only the rabbit bots have red spots in their eyes, so for live specimens this is a big help to ID. This species is similar to C. buccata (see BugGuide for pics), but the key is the U shaped white fringe on the back (in bug jargon this would be on the mesoscutum). This species is also similar to C. princeps and C. ruficrus, but both of these species have red in the legs. This is clearly all black. From the top down shots, this appears to be a male by the spacing between the eyes. This is especially nice, as males are poorly represented in collections. Sabrosky found 14 males and 57 females in collections, but there may be more in places he never visited? Its surprising that this bot is not better represented, given its wide distribution in the west, and that it uses a fairly common host.
The only color photos I know of this species are by Dr. Craig Baird. His show multiple black dots on the white sides. I haven't worked with this species enough to know if these dots are tied to gender, or if they are variable. Hope more pics show up from other regions of this species.
George "Jeff" Boettner, 21 October, 2011
Range
This bot is a rabbit botfly with a wide range but not very often seen. These have been found from Washington State to South Dakota, south to California to Texas (plus at least one record from TX.
Life Cycle
Their known hosts are cottontail rabbits, Sylvilagus nuttallii and recently S. audubonii (the desert cottontail) was also found as a host by Pfaffenberger (1988)in New Mexico. Craig Baird (1983) worked out and published on the biology of the species.