Thursday, August 20, 2015

Squirrel Bot Fly Larvae Parasite Development


Eastern Gray Squirrel with Bot Fly larva parasite progress report. Update from previous video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrY9YVE61Pg
He is doing better and should fully recover with plenty of water and food - his activity level and overall appearance is good. A few other squirrels have two or three bot fly "warbles" and are also hanging in there. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orx-xLZrry0
Gray squirrels are often infested by one or a few larvae. The large, fluid-draining warbles are often surrounded by patches of bare skin, and appear rather gross. However, an otherwise healthy adult host with access to adequate food and water probably can tolerate at least four to five of these insects with little obvious effect on its behavior other than stimulating efforts to scratch the warbles. But, at higher infestation levels (squirrels with 10 or more larvae have been observed) and in situations where there is a scarcity of food or water, or if the host is an infant, pregnant or nursing infants, these parasites can be harmful. For example, a heavily infested squirrel may become weakened and more vulnerable to predation, a fatal bacterial infection may set in, or a mother squirrel may experience a diminished milk supply leading to the death of her nursing offspring. With gray squirrels, the larvae often are found in the upper torso, although they may occur on the head, limbs and most other areas of the body except the tail.

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Squirrel Bot Fly Larvae

Squirrel Bot Fly Larvae

Squirrel Bot Fly Larvae