Betsy the BotFly

Posted on January 17, 2011 by Tim 4 Comments

I returned from Ecuador unknowingly having smuggled a host back home. If I knew and checked the ‘yes’ box on my customs declaration I have no idea what the officers would have done. Likely not a pleasant or easily explainable event.  Anyway, I have returned with my third bot fly embedded in me. It has been several years since I returned home with two from Bolivia – one on my right forearm and one in my abdomen. It should not be surprising considering the 37 million (give or take) mosquito bites I received on this trip. I will update this entry with some photos and more about the biology of these strange flies by next weekend. As it stands I’m estimating that I’ve carried it for about 30 days so far. Still not sure if I’ll try t remove it or let it exit on it’s own. I know – gross. But kind of cool in a strange biology, rainforest merit badge sort of way.

4 comments

  • Cassandra says:

    Wow…must see pictures!

  • hutch says:

    Your botfly experiment is a cry for help. You want to be able to give birth to a living thing. Maybe you have gender role issues?

  • Carlos Gomez says:

    Once it reaches term, your bot fly will emerge and pupate. Assuming this does not occur while you are asleep and the probability of inadvertently crushing the pupa is high, try to conserve it and maintain it in a semi-moist medium until the adult Dermatobius hominis emerges. Really good photos of the adult fly would be great to obtain, as the adults are not commonly seen. Alternatively, if you opt to remove the larva as it becomes more uncomfortable, I have found the easiest way is to use an ace bandage and strap a plastic, Vaseline-filled bottle cap over the breathing hole. Eventually (and uncomfortably) the maggot will emerge for air.

  • Carlos Gomez says:

    One more thing…while a mosquito is frequently the deliverer of Dermatobius it is important to note that a variety of long-legged, slow-moving rainforest tabanid flies also perform this role, sometimes even more effectively.

Leave a Reply to Cassandra Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *