Field Guide

Aquatic Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 58 results
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 a paintedhand mudbug carefully arranged against a black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lacunicambarus polychromatus (syn. Cambarus polychromatus)
Description
The paintedhand mudbug is a burrowing crayfish known in Missouri from only a few locations along the eastern border of the Bootheel. It is tan to olive green, and the abdominal segments and tail fan are trimmed with red. The pincers have red spots and red tips.
Media
Photo of a devil crayfish.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lacunicambarus aff. diogenes (syn. Cambarus diogenes)
Description
The powerfully built devil crayfish is usually a uniform olive or tan, without obvious blotches or spots. It digs underground burrows, often with mud chimneys, and has a wide distribution.
Media
Photo of a shield crayfish, also called a ditch fencing crayfish.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Faxonella clypeata
Description
The shield crayfish is small and tan, with a pattern of paired blackish dashes along the surface of the carapace and abdomen. The pincers are narrow, with short, abruptly tapering fingers. In Missouri it occurs only in our southeast counties.
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 amphipod on a rock
Species Types
Scientific Name
Species in the crustacean order Amphipoda
Description
Often overlooked by people, but eagerly sought by fish, Missouri’s amphipods resemble shrimplike sowbugs. Scuds live in various aquatic habitats, and several species inhabit caves.
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
fatmucket
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lampsilis siliquoidea
Description
The fatmucket was a favorite species harvested for the button industry in the early 1900s.
Media
deertoe
Species Types
Scientific Name
Truncilla truncata
Description
A common mussel in some areas, deertoe have decorative green markings.
Media
fragile papershell
Species Types
Scientific Name
Leptodea fragilis
Description
A widespread mussel that relies on freshwater drum as host fish for the developing young.
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.