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Rabbit Bot Fly

Cuterebra lepusculi


Cuterebra sp. flies are large, hairy, and characterized by the absence of a functional mouth. Their life span is short, and aimed only at the reproduction of the species. The larvae of several species of the Cuterebra sp. flies can infest rabbits and other lagomorphs. They include Cuterebra buccata, C. cuniculi, C. lepivora, C. abdominalis, C. jelloni, C. ruficrus, and C. lepusculi. The parasitic larvae of these flies can infest human beings and other animals as well, including dogs, foxes, cats, and minks. Unlike with fly-strike, a Cuterebra sp. larva strike is not linked to poor hygiene. Indeed, the eggs are not deposited on skin soiled with urine or excrement, but near the entrance to a rabbit burrow, other lagomorph nests, or near an outdoor rabbit hutch. House rabbits can also be struck by botfly larvae, when a fly enters a home, and deposits eggs in the rabbit's living environment. When the botfly larva emerges from the egg, it will migrate onto a (wild) rabbit, cottontail, or hare. It enters the body of its host through the skin (breaks in the skin or any natural openings), after which it penetrates the mucosa. The larva will migrate further in the body, using the trachea and the abdominal cavity to move to a subcutaneous location. There it will develop a 2 to 3 cm long furunculoid cystic structure, with a fistula (respiratory hole) at the surface of the skin, and swelling of the subcutaneous tissues.


North America

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27 Comments (1–25)

RickBohler 6 years ago

ha ha, Thank you Cindy :) I also thought it was beautiful and gross as I was shooting it.

I'm reviewing the 2013 Best Wildlife Photo mission and loved looking at this series again. Although this fly is considered to be gross, I find it fascinating and beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

Maria dB
Maria dB 6 years ago

Great shots! I was very excited when I got my spotting of this unusual fly.

RickBohler 6 years ago

Thanks Irina, bherath and Mac :)

IrinaSh 6 years ago

An amazing ..сool series of photos!

Bhagya Herath
Bhagya Herath 6 years ago


MacChristiansen 6 years ago

Nice series Rick

RickBohler 6 years ago

Thanks Karen and Mona

Mona Pirih
Mona Pirih 6 years ago

Stunning pictures, Rick.

KarenL 6 years ago

Fabulous series Rick!

RickBohler 6 years ago

ha ha ha, Jakubko I agree with you 100%

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 6 years ago

Awesome, terrifying, and amazing!

KakyoinNoriaki 6 years ago


RickBohler 6 years ago

Thanks dotun55.......Hummmm? I wonder why?

dotun55 6 years ago

One hell of a fly. Oops! I can't fave this.

RickBohler 6 years ago

This is a link to #5 shot a bit larger... Enjoy

RickBohler 6 years ago

Thanks again all, This was stuck on a branch when I found it. I first thought it was a sakata bug. then I recognized it as a huge fly. I took my shots and then let it go. After learning what it was I question my decision.

Nimbid Ditavi
Nimbid Ditavi 6 years ago

Excellent close up! Amazing spotting! I agree with LandmarkExpert!

Jason Alexander
Jason Alexander 6 years ago

It had warned you.. Look at its eyes (!)o(!)

Caleb Steindel
Caleb Steindel 6 years ago

that 5th pic is amazing!

Wild Things
Wild Things 6 years ago

Lovely shots! Loved the red ! mark on the eyes :-)

LeanneGardner 6 years ago

Fantastic series Rick! Great info & such great photos too.

RickBohler 6 years ago

All, Thanks for the compliments on the shots....Juan I agree 100%

LaurenZarate 6 years ago

Wow! Great photos! Bot Flies are amazing...

Fyn Kynd
Fyn Kynd 6 years ago

Great shots!

Spotted by

North Carolina, USA

Lat: 36.22, Long: -81.74

Spotted on Jun 19, 2013
Submitted on Jun 19, 2013

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