Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 24 results
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Photo of a rainbow scarab beetle, male.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phanaeus vindex
Description
Although most dung beetles are dull black, the rainbow scarab is bright metallic green and copper.
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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 an orchard orbweaver with a black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Leucauge venusta
Description
The orchard orbweaver is a small, colorful, greenish, delicate spider that makes circular webs in low bushes and damp woodlands. It typically hangs in the middle of its web, its back to the ground.
Media
image of Black-and-Yellow Mud Dauber
Species Types
Scientific Name
Three genera: Sceliphron, Trypoxylon, and Chalybion
Description
Mud daubers are among the most familiar solitary wasps. They belong to a number of related groups, but we call them all "mud daubers" because they all build their nests out of mud. One way to tell the different mud daubers apart is by the distinctive architecture they use.
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Dogbane beetle resting on a window
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chrysochus auratus
Description
The shiny, iridescent dogbane beetle is one of Missouri's most beautiful insects. As the name indicates, this beautiful beetle feeds on dogbanes.
Media
image of greenbottle fly on carcass
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 84 species in North America.
Description
Many blow flies are so shiny and colorful they’re called greenbottles and bluebottles. But pretty as they are, it’s hard not to be repulsed by their larval diets.
Media
image of a Leafhopper on leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 3,000 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
The leafhoppers are a large and diverse family of sap-sucking, hopping insects. You can distinguish them from similar groups of hoppers by the hind legs, which have at least one row of small spines on the hind tibiae (“shins”).
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Blue-winged wasp viewed from above, showing wrinkled surface of wings
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 20 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Scoliid wasps are a family of beetle hunters. Large, rather hairy wasps, some are handsomely colored. The female digs in soil, finds a scarab beetle grub, and lays an egg on it.
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.
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Blue orchard bee resting on a dirt surface
Species Types
Scientific Name
Osmia lignaria
Description
The blue orchard bee is one of our native mason bees, or megachilids. It is a very important native pollinator of spring-blooming orchard trees, such as apple, pear, and cherry.
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.