Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 8 of 8 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
image of a Four-Spotted Owlfly
Species Types
Scientific Name
8 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
An owlfly looks like a dragonfly with a butterfly’s head. Dragonfly shaped and sized, they have long, clubbed antennae and large, bulging eyes. Look for them in summertime dusks and evenings.
Media
Photo of a firebrat, a type of silverfish
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lepisma saccharina, Thermobia domestica, and other species
Description
Silverfish are known worldwide, since they commonly live in our homes. There are a number of species in this family of insects, including the common silverfish and the firebrat.
Media
Photo of a sowbug (left) and pillbug (right).
Species Types
Scientific Name
Land-dwelling members of the crustacean order Isopoda
Description
Pillbugs, roly-polies, woodlice, and sowbugs — the terrestrial members of order Isopoda are familiar to anyone who has overturned a rock. But what do you really know about them?
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.
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
A reddish centipede crawls over a rock
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hundreds of species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Centipedes are familiar to anyone who has overturned rocks and logs, sifted through leaf litter, or dug in the soil. Learn more about Missouri's members of class Chilopoda.
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.