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Rabbit Bot Fly (Cuterebra buccata)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Rabbit Bot Fly, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 6/28/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Rabbit Bot Fly  
Picture of Rabbit-Bot-Fly
Picture of Rabbit-Bot-Fly Picture of Rabbit-Bot-Fly

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.

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.

Picture of the Rabbit Bot Fly
Picture of the Rabbit Bot Fly

Rabbit Bot Fly Information

Category: Fly or Mosquito
Common Name: Rabbit Bot Fly
Scientific Name: Cuterebra buccata
Other Name(s): Warble Fly, Heel Fly

Taxonomy Hierarchy

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

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 20 mm to 30 mm (0.78 inches to 1.17 inches)
Identifying Colors: black, white, gray
Additional Descriptors: flying, large, fat, plump, round, big, hairy, speckled

North American Territorial 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

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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