Friday, September 21, 2007

Weird larvae or caterpillar? Common Cattle Grub larvae??

I did an online search and it may be the Common Cattle Grub larvae Hypoderma lineatum or Hypoderma bovis the Northern Cattle Grub both also known as, heel flies, warble flies, bomb flies, or gad flies. The name Gad fly comes from "gadding" the wild running of cattle when the fly buzzes as it deposits its eggs on the hapless beast. Warbles are the larval stage of the Cattle Grub. See this website for more information. Or this site for a photo and description.

We don't have cattle or horses anywhere close to where we live so I don't know how the larvae appeared on the street one house away from us. The nearest horse facility is about 5 miles away and though there is a small farm about 1/4 mile away, I haven't seen any large animals there. When the woman who lived on the farm had a corn stand, I remember she said they kept a goat and maybe a sheep or two but no other livestock. So it is a mystery how this larvae came to be where it was found since the hosts are "mainly cattle and Old World deer but they have been known to parasitize horses and humans"* too.

A note about parasitism: The cattle grub would be considered a endoparasite because it lives inside the body of the host. An ectoparasite is one that lives on the outside of the body like ticks, fleas, lice etc. An epiparasite parasitizes another parasite.

Now I have two mysteries to solve, where this grub came from and how a frog and only one frog appears in our pond every year when there are no large bodies of water close to us, not even a small stream or brook. I'll look for crop circles next... I just remembered that we did have a crop circle in a field only about two blocks from where we live. The local paper took some aerial photos of it. So maybe we just live in a weird place. :)

Anal end. Bottom view.

Head end. Bottom view.

Side view.

Top view.

I was walking the dog several weeks ago and just happened to look down while stepping off the curb onto the asphalt roadway and saw something that looked like a rubber grommet or a part from a car. Actually it looks very much like a dark Turkish dried unsulphured apricot. Upon closer inspection it looked like a flattened dark brown insect or butterfly larvae. It had very short black hair all over it and it looked like it had a head end with head retracted and an anal end. It had no feet or legs but the body was semi segmented with circumferential lines at regular intervals. The body is also curved slightly - the top is convex while the bottom concave. It resembles a tiny trilobite. It never moved all the time I held it and positioned it to take the pictures so it was probably dead. It was about 3/4 of an inch long or 20 mm.

I sent a photo to the "What's that Bug" website about 3 weeks ago for identification but haven't received a reply yet. They do say that they are extremely busy with the start of the new school year so I don't expect a reply soon if ever.

Let me know if you have any idea what it is.



Blogger kate said...

I haven't a clue what this is, but it is cool. If you find out what it is, could you please let us know? I'm curious now.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Kate,
I did an online search and I believe I found it or something very close. It may be the Common Cattle Grub
Hypoderma lineatum or Northern Cattle Grub Hypoderma bovis. We don't have cattle or horses anywhere close to where we live so how it got here is a mystery.

7:24 PM  
Blogger melissa said...

rabbit botfly, Cuterebra spp (order Diptera, family Cuterebridae)- mature grub comes from rabbits, interesting life cycle, or gross depending how you like things. being a vet, it's cool to look at disgusting to treat

2:10 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Melissa,
Sorry for the belated reply - I don't have the comment notification activated for this site so I wasn't aware you left a comment until I saw it on an email I rarely check.

So now after the long winded excuse, thanks very much for the ID. We do have a lot of rabbits in the neighborhood so there's no lack of host bodies. I shudder to think such a large grub could be living in a rabbit much less human or bovine. It must cause the rabbits much discomfort.

6:40 PM  

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