Oestrus ovis

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Oestrus ovis
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Class Insecta
Order Diptera
Family Oestridae

Also known as: Sheep nasal bot fly


Oestrus ovis is of the family Oestridae, and is primarily seen in sheep and goats, but occasionally seen in ibex, camels and humans.


The adult fly is 13-15mm in length and grey in colour, with black spots along the abdomen.

Mature larvae are around 30mm and are yellow in colour. They have distinct black bands along the dorsal body segment.

Life cycle

The female is viviparous and infects the host by squirting larvae into the nostrils of sheep in a jet of liquid.

The larvae crawl caudally into the nasal cavity and feed on the nasal mucosa and mature, before returning to the nostrils. The larvae move to the frontal sinuses, where they transform from L2 to L3. They only move to the frontal sinuses under warm conditions. If these conditions are not achieved, the larvae will stay in the nostrils for an extended period of time, until the warm conditions come about.

The larvae are then sneezed out into the ground, and pupate on the ground. The adults develop, and are active throughout the year. Adult flies only live for 2-3 weeks

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