Content tagged with "Insects, Spiders and Kin"

image of a Wheel Bug, Side View

Wheel Bug

Arilus cristatus
This large gray or brown insect carries something interesting on its back: Is it a cog, or a wheel, or a circular saw blade? It’s unmistakable!

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Photo of a whirligig beetle viewed from above

Whirligig Beetles

Species in the beetle family Gyrinidae
Groups of these aquatic beetles swim on the surface of water in quick, random patterns, searching for food. They have two pairs of eyes—one pair above the water, and one pair below—which helps them to quickly and accurately capture their prey.

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white backed garden spider

White-Backed Garden Spider

Argiope trifasciata
This species is similar to its close relative, the black-and-yellow garden spider. However, the white-backed garden spider is slightly smaller overall, with a pointier hind end. Also, the abdomen is patterned with many thin silver and yellow transverse lines and thicker black, spotty lines.

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image of a bold jumping spider

White-Spotted Jumping Spider (Bold Jumping Spider)

Phidippus audax
This jumping spider, like many other jumping spiders, is fuzzy, walks with jerky movements, jumps astonishingly long distances, and doesn't build webs. To identify this species, note the fuzzy, usually black body with white, orange, or reddish spots on the abdomen.

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Photo of wolf spider with young

Wolf Spiders

Numerous species and genera in our state.
These athletic spiders don't spin webs to catch their prey — they run it down like wolves! (Lone wolves, that is.) Wolf spiders have long legs and are usually gray, brown, black or tan with dark brown or black body markings (especially stripes). This family of spiders includes many of the most common spiders in Missouri as well as worldwide.

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Photo of a Xysticus crab spider, tan individual

Xysticus Crab Spiders

Xysticus spp.
There are several species of crab spiders in the genus Xysticus in Missouri. Generally larger than flower crab spiders, they are usually dull gray and brown and have brown, white or yellow markings, especially on the abdomen. They tend to live under bark or on the ground in leaf litter.

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Photo of an eastern yellowjacket


Most are in the genus Vespula
Yellowjackets are bee-sized social wasps that build paper nests, usually underground. Their defensive stinging makes them a major pest when they nest near people. If you want to eliminate a yellowjacket nest, consult a licensed exterminator.

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