warble fly


: any of various beelike flies (family Oestridae) having larvae that are internal parasites of mammals (such as cattle)

Note: Warble flies lay eggs on the hair of their hosts. After hatching, the larvae burrow through the host's skin and migrate through subcutaneous tissue to specific parts of the body (such as the esophagus or spinal canal). The eggs or larvae may also enter the host's body by being ingested as the animal licks its hair. After several weeks the larvae travel to the posterior end of the animal and form cysts or warbles below the skin. Following several molts, the mature larvae emerge through the skin to begin the final stage of development in the ground.

see cattle grub

Examples of warble fly in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Just a few Flying Spur (@flyingspur) details: Cost: starts at $200,500 Interior: The leather is sourced from cow herds in Northern Europe and are chosen for the area's lack of barbed-wire fences and warble flies, so the leather has no marks. Deanne Kaczerski, Marie Claire, 9 Sep. 2013

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'warble fly.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1877, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of warble fly was in 1877

Dictionary Entries Near warble fly

Cite this Entry

“Warble fly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warble%20fly. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition

warble fly

: any of various dipteran flies of the genus Hypoderma that are parasites of cattle and other mammals and lay eggs on their feet and legs which are licked off and hatch in the mouth or esophagus and burrow as larvae through the tissues to the skin and beneath it to the back of the animal where they live until ready to pupate and cause warbles

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