Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 6 of 6 results
Media
Elongate-bodied springtail on a brown leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 8,000 species globally
Description
Springtails, like insects, have six legs, but these tiny rounded, oval, or elongated creatures that hop quickly into the air are not insects. They have a separate lineage and many structural differences.
Media
photo of a leafcutter bee
Species Types
Scientific Name
Megachile spp.
Description
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.
Media
Photo of a triangle orbweaver, or arrowhead spider
Species Types
Scientific Name
Verrucosa arenata
Description
In late summer and fall, woodland hikers can count on walking into the arrowhead spider's web. These webs are delicate circles that help the spider snare tiny flying insects.
Media
Lace bugs on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 165 species in North American north of Mexico
Description
Grayish, small, flattened, and rectangular, lace bugs have a lacy network of ridges on the wings and body. They suck nutrients from foliage with their beaks. The resulting pale spots on leaves might be the first sign of their presence.
Media
Red milkweed beetle eating a common milkweed leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 1,000 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
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.
Media
Flea beetle, probably Disonycha procera, resting on a window screen
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 2,000 species in North America
Description
Leaf beetles, or chrysomelid beetles, are members of a large, diverse, often very colorful beetle family. As the name suggests, they eat leaves and other plant parts and are common on foliage.
See Also
Media
Photo of a Yellow-Collared Scape Moth
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cisseps fulvicollis
Description
The yellow-collared scape moth is more often “orange-collared.” And whether you think it looks more like a firefly or a wasp, it’s still a moth!
Media
image of Plume Moth on blade of grass
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nearly 150 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Slim, delicate plume moths are instantly recognizable by their T-shaped silhouette, long legs, and muted shades of tan and brown. It can be hard to separate the various species.
Media
Photo of an Isabella Tiger Moth
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pyrrharctia isabella
Description
Not many people know the adult Isabella tiger moth when they see one, but we’re all acquainted with its caterpillar, the woolly worm, or woolly bear.

About Land Invertebrates in Missouri

Invertebrates are animals without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, and arthropods. Arthropods—invertebrates with “jointed legs” — are a group of invertebrates that includes crayfish, shrimp, millipedes, centipedes, mites, spiders, and insects. There may be as many as 10 million species of insects alive on earth today, and they probably constitute more than 90 percent all animal species.