Lucilia bufonivora Moniez, Lucilia bufonivora is a member of the fly family Calliphoridae which are commonly known as blow flies. The larvae are creamy white maggots similar to those of other blow flies that are found on dead animals and rotting meat. The nostrils of the toad have been destroyed by the larvae already. The adult toadfly lays its eggs on the skin at the entrance to the nostrils of the common toad although it has been known to infest other frog and toad species. On hatching, the larvae start to feed on the tissue of the nostrils and work their way into the nasal cavities. The larvae grow rapidly and as their appetite increases, they start to consume the eyes, the brain and other tissues of the host.
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Toad fly larvae are parasitic and look similar to other blowfly maggots found on dead animals or rotting meat, being creamy white in colour, and around 10 to 18 mm in length. Adult flies are not parasitic. They resemble house flies, but are slightly larger with a metallic green body similar to green bottle files.
Other species of toads and frogs can also be affected by the parasite. Adult amphibians are most commonly affected but sub-adults can also be parasitised. Signs of disease Affected amphibians may be anorexic, lethargic and depressed. Adult toad flies preferentially lay their eggs on the skin at the entrance of the nostrils of common toads, but can infest other body openings, e. Larvae then hatch and enter the nostrils where they develop and feed on the local tissues of the living host myiasis and may be easily visible.
The larvae grow rapidly, the damage to the host is severe and the toad almost always dies as a result of the parasite infestation. It is thought that adult common toads that are already sick or injured are more frequently parasitized than healthy individuals.
Adult toad flies may also lay their eggs in wounds of the amphibian host. Figure 1. Common toad with nasal cavities infested by L. The larvae then develop and cause disease in the amphibian host. Distribution Lucilia bufonivora is commonly found in North West Europe.
Studies in the Netherlands and Germany have found variable, sometimes high, prevalence of the toad fly infection. Whilst this parasitic infection is likely to have a severe impact on affected individuals, there is no evidence to indicate that it affects the species at a population level.
The toad fly is thought to be a native i. Risk to human health There is no known risk to human health. Risk to domestic animal health Lucilia bufonivora has only been found to affect common toads, and on rare occasions other toad and frog species.
Therefore, pet amphibians should be regarded as potential hosts of the parasite. Diagnosis The appearance of L. When fly maggots are present in open wounds, the parasite is likely to be L. If you wish to report finding a dead amphibian, or signs of disease in amphibians, please visit www. Alternatively, if you have further queries or have no internet access, please call the Garden Wildlife Health vets on Control and prevention There is no known control or treatment for L.
Further information More advice on amphibians in your garden can be found on the Garden Wildlife Health website www. Scientific publications Strijbosch, H. The evolution of ectoparasitism in the genus Lucilia Diptera: Calliphoridae.
International Journal for Parasitology 51— Parasitology 13 : Amphibian myiasis. Blowfly larvae Lucilia bufonivora, Diptera: Calliphoridae coping with the poisonous skin secretion of the common toad Bufo bufo.
Chemoecology 24 4 : DOI: The GWH will not be liable for any loss, damage, cost or expense incurred in or arising by reason of any person relying on information in this fact sheet.
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Toad fly (Lucilia bufonivora)
As we trudge through the Diptera week after week, we are going to see a lot of bizarre and frightening parasites. Even our second-ever entry was about bloodsuckers! Gbohne This is an ordinary "greenbottle" fly, probably Lucilia sericata. Can you tell the difference? And this is a common toad.