Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 16 results
Media
Citrus flatid planthopper on twig
Species Types
Scientific Name
Metcalfa pruinosa
Description
The citrus flatid planthopper has a waxy coating and can look gray or tan. It eats a wide variety of plants.
Media
Photo of an adult damselfly on a twig next to water.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Species in the suborder Zygoptera
Description
Like dragonflies, damselflies have long bodies, two pairs of long, membranous, finely veined wings, and predaceous aquatic larvae that have extendible mouthparts. Damselflies typically hold their wings together, above the body.
Media
Photo of a male Banded Pennant dragonfly
Species Types
Scientific Name
Species in the suborder Anisoptera
Description
Like damselflies, dragonflies have long bodies, two pairs of long, membranous, finely veined wings, and predaceous aquatic larvae. Dragonflies typically hold their wings stretched outward, horizontally.
Media
Photo of a swift crab spider, female, from above.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Mecaphesa spp. and Misumessus spp.
Description
Foliage flower spiders are two genera of crab spiders. They are generally smaller than other crab spiders, and their carapaces, abdomens, and legs are spiny.
Media
image of Fiery Searcher on dead leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 2,400 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Ground beetles are a family of mostly nocturnal or light-shunning beetles that tend to be shiny black and have grooved wing covers. This group also includes tiger beetles, however, which includes many colorful daytime fliers.
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
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.
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
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
Photo of a northern crab spider
Species Types
Scientific Name
Mecaphesa asperata
Description
The northern crab spider has many spiny hairs covering the top surfaces of the carapace, abdomen, and legs, and it has usually has greenish-yellow or yellow-brown markings.
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.