Field Guide

Aquatic Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 12 results
Media
Photo of an aquatic isopod in an aquarium, crawling on a rock.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Freshwater members of the crustacean order Isopoda
Description
Everyone knows about terrestrial sowbugs and pillbugs, but many isopod species are aquatic. Missouri has several isopods that live in streams, ponds, rivers, and caves.
Media
Photo of a Cajun dwarf crayfish.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cambarellus puer
Description
The Cajun dwarf crayfish is small, reddish brown to gray, with a paired series of dark, wavy stripes or dashes along the dorsal surface. In Missouri, it occurs in our southeastern lowlands.
Media
Photo of a papershell crayfish, also called calico crayfish.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Faxonius immunis (formerly Orconectes immunis)
Description
The calico crayfish is rather plain: gray-green with a pale central zone along the middle of the carapace and abdomen. The pincers are orange-tipped, and in mature males are tinged with purple. It is usually only found in the northern half of the state.
Media
Photo of a Caney Mountain cave crayfish out of water on a wet, red-coated cave rock.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Orconectes stygocaneyi
Description
One of three species of cave crayfish in Missouri, the Caney Mountain cave crayfish is known from only one location. Like many other cave invertebrates, this species is whitish and is blind.
Media
Photo of a spothanded crayfish viewed from above on white background.
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 36 species in Missouri
Description
Crayfish are freshwater aquatic invertebrates that look a lot like small lobsters, to which they are related. There are about 36 species of crayfish in Missouri.
Media
Photo of a gray-speckled crayfish.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Faxonius palmeri (formerly Orconectes palmeri)
Description
The gray-speckled crayfish is gray with numerous greenish-black speckles and blotches. A pair of large blotches are present near the back of the head, and another pair occur where the carapace joins the abdomen. In Missouri, it is found only in the southeastern section.
Media
Photo of an Ohio shrimp with small grayish pincers in the foreground.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Macrobrachium ohione
Description
Of Missouri’s two species of freshwater shrimp, the Ohio River shrimp is certainly the rarest. It was thought to be extirpated from our state but was rediscovered recently in the Mississippi River.
Media
Photo of a red swamp crawfish or crayfish.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Procambarus clarkii
Description
Adult red swamp crawfish are dark red (nearly black on the carapace) and have a wedge-shaped black stripe on the abdomen. Juveniles are a uniform gray, sometimes overlain by dark wavy lines. In Missouri it lives in the Bootheel.
Media
Photo of a shrimp crayfish.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Faxonius lancifer (formerly Orconectes lancifer)
Description
The shrimp crayfish is medium-small, light reddish brown to gray, and thickly dusted with darker specks. Its noselike rostrum is unusually long, with the tip longer than the base, and the pincers are narrow and weak. It is found in the Bootheel.
Media
Photo of a Shufeldt’s dwarf crayfish.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cambarellus shufeldtii
Description
Shufeldt’s dwarf crayfish is small, reddish brown to gray, with a paired series of dark, wavy stripes or dashes along the dorsal surface. In Missouri, it occurs in our southeastern lowlands and north along the Mississippi River floodplain.
See Also

About Aquatic Invertebrates in Missouri

Missouri's streams, lakes, and other aquatic habitats hold thousands of kinds of invertebrates — worms, freshwater mussels, snails, crayfish, insects, and other animals without backbones. These creatures are vital links in the aquatic food chain, and their presence and numbers tell us a lot about water quality.