Content tagged with "Insects, Spiders and Kin"

Photo of a swamp milkweed leaf beetle on a leaf it has chewed on.

Leaf Beetles

About 2,000 species in North America
Leaf beetles, or chrysomelid beetles, are members of a large, diverse beetle family. As the name suggests, they eat leaves and other plant parts and are common on foliage.

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photo of a leafcutter bee

Leafcutter Bees

Species in the genus Megachile.
Leafcutter bees are common throughout Missouri from late spring into early autumn. All are solitary. They are dark-colored with several whitish hair bands across the abdomen. One sign of their presence is the rounded holes they cut in the leaves of plants.

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Photo of a red milkweed beetle eating a common milkweed leaf.

Longhorned Beetles (Borers; Sawyer Beetles)

About 1,000 species in North America north of Mexico
Longhorned beetles are elongated and cylindrical, with antennae that are at least half the length of the body—sometimes much longer. The larvae are grubs that bore in wood or other plants. Some are serious pests.

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image of May Beetle on wood

May Beetles (June Bugs)

Phyllophaga spp.
These common beetles are named for the months they are most numerous. Clumsy walkers and fliers, May beetles are usually brownish and are attracted to lights at night.

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Photo of a mayfly


There are hundreds of species in North America.
The mayflies are a fascinating group of insects. The nymphs live from months to years under water, breathing through gills, and the adults fly around in the air, mating, living for only a day or two.

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Photo of arrow-shaped micrathena spider

Micrathena Spiders

Spiders in the genus Micrathena
Some of us hate blundering into spider webs, but it's consoling to learn more about the creatures whose homes we’re destroying. Micrathenas are one group of spiders whose webs are commonly “nailed” by hikers!

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image of Narceus Millipede crawling across gravel


More than 900 species in North America north of Mexico
Millipedes, which have two pairs of legs per body segment, are harmless detritus-eaters, move slowly, and curl up defensively when harassed.

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Image of a tarantula

Missouri Tarantula

Aphonopelma hentzi
The Missouri tarantula is our state's largest spider. The hairy body and legs are uniformly dark chocolate brown, with reddish hairs on the carapace. Look for it on dry, rocky glades.

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image of Mosquito


There are about 50 species of mosquitoes in our state.
Who likes mosquitoes? Certainly not people! However, mosquitoes have lived on Earth for millions of years, and all that time they’ve been feeding fish with their legions of “wriggler” larvae.

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image of Black-and-Yellow Mud Dauber

Mud Daubers

Three genera: Sceliphron, Trypoxylon, and Chalybion
Mud daubers are among the most familiar solitary wasps. They belong to a number of related groups, but we call them all "mud daubers" because they all build their nests out of mud. One way to tell the different mud daubers apart is by the distinctive architecture they use.

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