botfly

This big, fuzzy, and rather cute fly has a rather un-adorable nature. It is a botfly, and this type in particular is a parasite of rodents. The adult flies lay eggs in areas where their rodent host will eventually pass by. The warmth from the rodent's body causes the eggs to quickly hatch, and then the larvae make their way into the furry body. Infected rodents will eventually show incredibly large swellings on their bodies; once mature, the fly larva squeezes through a tiny breathing hole it created in the skin of the rodent body, and drops into the soil. Small rodents may die as a result!

This summer Cindy Scheer, one of the Museum's Curatorial Assistants, wrote a light-hearted blog about her Close Encounter with a Botfly.