Rabbit Bot Fly

Large fly(?) in Texas
Location: Dallas, TX
October 23, 2011 10:56 pm
Hello WTB
Please help me identify this LARGE fly(?) that my son found in our back yard.
– We live in North Dallas, TX
– It was found today, October 23
– It was found on a piece of playground equipment less than a foot from the ground
– It does not seem able to fly, but buzzes loudly when it attempts to
Thank you for all of your efforts. your site is my first stop when attempting to ID something new that we’ve found.
Signature: Brandon

Rabbit Bot Fly

Hi Brandon,
This is a Bot Fly in the genus
Cuterebra, and we are nearly certain it is the Rabbit Bot Fly, Cuterebra lepusculi, a species we just posted last week.  We are going to copy Jeff Boettner on our response so he can verify the identification since he has been providing correct species identifications for our Bot Fly submissions.  If you still have this specimen, Jeff may request it for study purposes.  Bot Flies in the genus Cuterebra are endoparasites of rodents and they have very interesting life cycles.  Your photographs are excellent.

Rabbit Bot Fly

Daniel –
Thank you for the quick response, and thank you for the compliment on the photos.  I’ve attached a much better photo here, now that I’ve had time to properly set up and shoot this one.
Jeff –
I just read your comments on WTB.  I appreciate all of the great info.  I will indeed post this on BugGuide.net.  I’m excited about your interest in this find.  This is a first for me, and I do a fair amount of amateur insect hunting and photography.
I do still have the live specimen, and would be happy to share it.  No eggs yet, but I will send those as well if they come.  How should I go about getting it to you in the best possible condition?
Feel free to look through the photos of my other finds on my website. The “nature” section can be found here:
Kind regards,

Rabbit Bot Fly

Hi again Brandon,
Thanks for taking the time to take this stunning new photograph that is artful as well as accurately depicting the morphology of the Rabbit Bot Fly.

2 thoughts on “Rabbit Bot Fly”

  1. Hi Brandon,
    Awesome! It is indeed the female, to the male fly seen last week in TX as well and posted at this site. Its a female Cuterebra lepusculi. Easy to ID with the red spots in the eye (typical of rabbit bots) and the classic white U shaped pattern when viewed from above. Neat to see the male and female in the same week. Would love to have you post to BugGuide.net if you are up for it. We don’t have the female pictured yet at that site.

    This is a parasite of cottontail rabbits in your area. This species uses cottontail rabbits Sylvilagus nuttallii over most of its range and S. audubonii, the desert cottontail in the rest of the range. See the other post from last week to see the range.

    Email me (address below: as I would like to know more about it. If you collected it I would love to get it for a dna study we are doing. I actually just got back from a meeting with a world expert on flies that is going to help us to look at the genetics of bots. So amazing timing.

    The red eyes will turn black when the bot dies. These bots do not feed as adults (they have no mouthparts). So they only live for about a week to 10 days. It is best to keep bots alive as long as you can if you are keeping it. If bots are killed too quickly and pinned, they will turn black and oily looking and may just rot– they are pure fat as adults. So best to let them burn off fat in a cage or container. Yours is female and she may start laying eggs in captivity. In case she has mated, don’t let kids handle the eggs. If you touch the eggs and then touch an open wound or your eye, the eggs could hatch and try to get into you. Unlikely they would hatch, but it does happen with some female bots. I would be interested in seeing the eggs as well if she does.

    Email me direct and I can answer any questions you might have.

    Really fun find. Thanks a bunch to the staff at What’s that bug! for contacting me about this one. Do let me know about any bots you come across.

    Jeff Boettner
    Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences
    115 Ag. Eng. Bld.
    250 Natural Resources Road
    Amherst, MA 01003

    [email protected]


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