What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Black and White Bumblebee-Like Relative Found near Yosemite? Sat, Apr 11, 2009 at 3:12 PM
This might be some sort of mutant insect, because it certainly beats me. I found it rolling amongst the pebbles outside my mountain home near Yosemite, where many common bumblebees and honeybees flourish. Something is definitely off… Instead of mouth parts it has nostril like holes and the flesh above the undersized wings (it cannot fly) appears withdrawn, or peeled up.It’s first two segments have a white furry underbody and a shiny hard top. It’s last segment is shiny and hard. It has no antennae. It’s eyes are black with two red spots, one on the top and the other on the bottom portion. I figure mutations might not be your forte, but is this just a really weird insect? He’s also about an inch long.
Interested Mountain Girl
Coarsegold, near Yosemite Valley, CA

Rodent Bot Fly

Rabbit Bot Fly

Dear Interested Mountain Girl,
We wonder how long you are going to maintain your interest when you learn that though it looks like a Bumble Bee, this is actually a fly, a Bot Fly to be exact. We believe it is a Rodent Bot Fly. Bot Flies are endoparasites of various mammals and they cause swellings knows as warbles, giving the Bot Fly the name Warble Fly as well. Rodent Bot Flies tend to parasitize squirrels and rabbits. In Central America, there is a Human Bot Fly.

Wow, this is actually even cooler. I hadn’t realized we had those here, but I’d not paid much attention to the insect and bug life since I moved here a few years ago. Sorry for the poor picture quality, the camera wasn’t working at it’s best, but thank you for the amazing and prompt response, you guys really are amazing bug people!
Right now my little Bot buddy is in a glass jar with a damp paper towel and a few leaves, and he seems to be getting more active by the hour! I’ll free him pretty soon, and he can go back to his biting, buzzing ways, much to the chagrin of the local voles and bunnies.
-Interested Mountain Girl

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

One Response to Rabbit Bot Fly

  1. equalrights4parasites says:

    Mountain Girl,
    Wow! Did you take any other pics of this fly before you released it? This is for sure a rabbit botfly of the Genus Cuterebra. The undersized wings are actually halteres, which help stabilize the flies in flight, (these guys are very fast fliers). They are reluctant to fly, because bots have no mouthparts (and cannot feed or store new energy) and therefore are born with fat reserves that are depleted with each flight. They generally live only 10 days or so.
    It is too bad this picture is so blurry. I believe this may be a photo of Cuterebra cochisei, which is only known from 1 male and 1 female specimen! If so this would be only the third record of this species. But it would help to see this fly from other angles. If you have any other pics, even blurry ones, please post them. The only 2 other specimens were collected in AZ in fall, so I am hesitant to call yours this species for sure. But it is not a common bot. This one has me confused, but it is a rabbit bot for sure from the red spots in the eyes. Thanks for the post! Great find. Yours may be the only picture of this species alive with the eye spots. The eye spots disappear after death.

    Jeff Boettner

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