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  • Rabbit Bot Fly - (Cuterebra buccata)

    Rabbit Bot Fly - (Cuterebra buccata)

    The parasitic Rabbit Bot Fly doesn't bite, but its maggots are a nuisance to lagomorphs and other small mammals unfortunate enough to cross paths with them.

    Staff Writer (6/28/2016): The Rabbit Bot Fly does not bite. It does not sting. Adults are non-feeders and focus solely on reproduction and are rarely seen. It is the larval form (maggot) of the species that gets all the attention.

    Females will lay fertilized eggs on or around the burrow or scrape of a rabbit. These eggs are picked up by the rabbit in a variety of ways: catching its fur as it passes, possibly inhaled or maybe even swallowed. The egg migrates through the internal body of the rabbit and settles on an area just under the skin. This area could be on the neck, throat, stomach or appendages. Once settled, the egg hatches internally and the larva (maggot) grows. A large tumor-like bump forms. This bump is called a warble. A hole is created in the warble to allow the maggot to breathe (called a warble hole). The maggot will grow larger and eventually push itself out of the animal through the warble hole and fall to the ground. There, it will encase itself and pupate. Once it has finished pupating, it emerges as a flying adult.

    Rabbit Bot Fly eggs cannot select which kind of animal it encounters, so there are cases where small animals like squirrels and rodents as well as house pets are found with warbles. This parasitic fly does not kill its host and only resides inside it for a short time. Veterinarians can remove the maggot in a pet and treat the warble hole so it heals properly and does not create an infection.

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    Details of the:
    Rabbit Bot Fly

    Category: Fly or Mosquito
    Common name: Rabbit Bot Fly
    Scientific Name: Cuterebra buccata
    Other Names: Warble Fly, Heel Fly

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Diptera
          Family: Oestridae
           Genus: Cuterebra
            Species: buccata

    Size (Adult, Length): 20mm to 30mm (0.79in to 1.18in)

    Identifying Colors: black, white, gray

    Additional Descriptors: flying, large, fat, plump, round, big, hairy, speckled

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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