Rabbit Bot Fly

One of those unusual insects that seems like something out of a science fiction movie is a bot fly.  These insects are parasites of other animals, where they live beneath the skin as larvae.  There are a number of species out there that affect large mammals such as cattle, sheep, and caribou.  There’s also a species called the human bot fly (Dermatobia hominis), which is known from tropical locations.  Around Wisconsin, we have some species in the genus Cuterebra that attack rodents and rabbits.

As adults, the rabbit bot flies resemble large, black and white bees with red spots on their eyes.  While bot fly (larval) infestations can be common in rodents and rabbits,  the adult flies are short-lived and are rarely seen.  This photograph of an adult recently came in to the diagnostic lab from Madison, WI.

Rabbit Bot Fly_opt
One of the elusive Rabbit Bot Flies. Photo courtesy of Quentin Sprengelmeyer.