Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 108 results
Media
image of Xystodesmid Millipede crawling on a forest floor
Species Types
Scientific Name
8 tribes, with about 23 genera, in North America north of Mexico
Description
Millipedes in family Xystodesmidae often have bright colors that serve as a warning to potential predators that they may secrete foul or toxic substances.
Media
image of American Carrion Beetle
Species Types
Scientific Name
Necrophila americana
Description
The American carrion beetle has a yellow pronotum with a big black spot in the middle. Adults of this species of silphid beetle eat fly maggots, plus some carrion. In flight, they seem like bumblebees.
Media
Orange assassin bug walking on tree bark at Mint Spring
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pselliopus barberi
Description
The orange assassin bug, Pselliopus barberi, is about ½ inch long and is one of our most attractive non-butterfly insects. They overwinter in groups as adults under loose bark.
Media
Blue-winged scoliid wasp taking nectar on English ivy flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Scolia dubia
Description
The blue-winged wasp is a common Missouri species of scoliid wasp. The abdomen has a distinctive fuzzy, rich rusty patch with two ovals of yellow. Its larvae eat Japanese beetle grubs and other scarab beetle larvae.
Media
Red-femured milkweed borer beetle on milkweed leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tetraopes spp.
Description
Milkweed longhorns are a genus of longhorned beetles that feed on milkweed. They are red with black spots. The species are very similar.
Media
Spiny assassin bug walking on a white napkin
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sinea spinipes
Description
The spiny assassin bug is one of nearly 200 species of assassin bugs in North America. It walks, hops, and flies to capture its insect prey.
Media
Photo of a meloe blister beetle, female, on ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Meloe spp.
Description
Blister beetles in the genus Meloe are called oil beetles because of a yellowish oil they excrete from their joints when squeezed or distressed. This oil contains cantharidin, an irritating chemical that can cause blistering in many people.
Media
Photo of an armored harvestman walking on the ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Members of suborder Laniatores
Description
Armored harvestmen have spines on their fingerlike mouthparts (pedipalps). Unlike other harvestmen, members of this suborder of so-called daddy longlegs do not usually have long legs.
Media
Halloween pennant perched on the tip of a dried flowering stalk
Species Types
Scientific Name
Celithemis eponina
Description
The Halloween pennant is one of the more common members of its genus. Distinctive wing markings include a complete brown band (not just a spot) positioned just short of the wing tip.
Media
Convergent lady beetle crawling on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hippodamia convergens
Description
One of our many native lady beetles, the convergent lady beetle is named for two short white lines on the black pronotum (shoulderlike section behind the head) that converge toward each other.
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.