Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 29 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 a Carolina Grasshopper
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dissosteira carolina
Description
The Carolina grasshopper is frequently seen in dusty, open habitats like dirt roads and vacant lots. Its yellow-bordered, black hindwings make it look like a mourning cloak butterfly.
Media
Male eastern Hercules beetle walking in grass
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dynastes tityus
Description
The eastern Hercules beetle is a breathtaking animal. Like its Greek-hero namesake, it is big and strong. Males have horns; females do not. Hercules beetles are harmless to people.
Media
Photo of a Hine's emerald dragonfly
Species Types
Scientific Name
Somatochlora hineana
Description
The Hine's emerald dragonfly is a federally endangered species. It has a dark emerald-green thorax and two yellow stripes on its sides. It lives in calcareous spring-fed marshes and sedge meadows overlaying dolomite bedrock.
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
A spinyleg dragonfly, possibly a southeastern spinyleg clubtail, closeup.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dromogomphus spp.
Description
Spinyleg clubtails are dragonflies in genus Dromogomphus. There are at least three species that look very similar.
Media
Photo of a Cobra Clubtail dragonfly
Species Types
Scientific Name
Gomphurus vastus
Description
The cobra clubtail is in the family of dragonflies called clubtails, named for the enlarged abdomen tip. There are about 100 species in this dragonfly family in North America north of Mexico.
Media
Photo of a slaty skimmer dragonfly, male.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Libellula incesta
Description
The slaty skimmer has a body about 2 inches long. Older males are all slate blue with black heads. Young males and females have brown abdomens and a dark stripe running down the back.
Media
Black saddlebags dragonfly perched on an upright twig
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tramea lacerata
Description
The black saddlebags is a dragonfly with memorable markings. Two dark blotches on each hindwing look like saddlebags.
Media
Male twelve-spotted skimmer perched on a plant stalk
Species Types
Scientific Name
Libellula pulchella
Description
The twelve-spotted skimmer has twelve brown wing spots. Males, like this one, have eight additional spots that are white. Females lack the white spots.
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.