Field Guide

Aquatic Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 27 results
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deertoe
Species Types
Scientific Name
Truncilla truncata
Description
A common mussel in some areas, deertoe have decorative green markings.
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fatmucket
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lampsilis siliquoidea
Description
The fatmucket was a favorite species harvested for the button industry in the early 1900s.
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giant floater
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pygandon grandis
Description
When a floater dies, this large mussel with a thick shell will actually rise to the water surface and float as it decays.
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pimpleback
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quadrula pustulosa
Description
While the pimpleback is usually bumpy, some individuals are perfectly smooth.
Media
Photograph of Purple Wartyback freshwater mussel shell exterior view
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cyclonaias tuberculata
Description
Before buttons were made of plastic, they were made of shell. Because only white buttons were in demand, the coppery-purple shell of this species made it worthless for the button industry.
Media
round pigtoe
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pleurobema sintoxia
Description
Round pigtoes are more rounded than Wabash pigtoes. Usually, the nacre (the shell lining) is white, but in rare individuals it is bright pink.
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wabash pigtoe
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fusconaia flava
Description
A widespread mussel that releases its larvae in tiny red packages to attract fish hosts.
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 collared water scavenger beetle showing back.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Beetles in the family Hydrophilidae
Description
Water scavenger beetles are a mostly aquatic family. They are similar to predaceous diving beetles, but unlike them many have a distinctive spine running down the center of their bellies.
Media
Photo of a fishfly larva crawling among rocks in an aquarium.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chauliodes, Neohermes, and Nigronia spp. (in eastern US)
Description
Fishfly larvae look a lot like their cousins the hellgrammites, but they lack cottony or hairy gill tufts along the abdomen, and they have 2 short, fleshy tails at the hind tip.
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.