Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 75 results
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 Xysticus crab spider, tan individual
Species Types
Scientific Name
Xysticus spp.
Description
Missouri has several species of ground crab spiders in the genus Xysticus. They are usually dull gray or brown with brown, white, or yellow markings. They typically live under bark or on the ground in leaf litter.
Media
Marbled orbweaver spider in web
Species Types
Scientific Name
Araneus spp.
Description
Missouri's Araneus spiders, called angulate and roundshouldered orbweavers, can be hard to identify to species. Most have camouflage patterns, and they all make characteristic, delicate, wheel-shaped webs to catch prey.
Media
Photo of female heptagonal orbweaver in web.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Gea heptagon
Description
The heptagonal orbweaver, Gea heptagon, builds its circular webs in vegetation only a few feet off the ground. When disturbed, it drops instantly to the ground below and turns a drab brown.
Media
Photo of a spotted orbweaver or barn spider, Neoscona crucifera, with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Neoscona spp.
Description
Missouri's Neoscona spiders, called spotted orbweavers, can be hard to identify to species. Most have camouflage patterns, and they all make the characteristic, delicate, wheel-shaped webs to catch prey.
Media
Image of a deceased pseudoscorpion on a US dime
Species Types
Scientific Name
Various species in the order Pseudoscorpionida
Description
Pseudoscorpions are unusual little arachnids. They look something like tiny scorpions but with a rounded (and nonvenomous) hind end. They're common but often overlooked.
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 house centipede
Species Types
Scientific Name
Scutigera coleoptrata
Description
Exceedingly fast, with zillions of wiggly legs! House centipedes seem that way. We usually see them in houses, where they prey on all the other insects and spiders you don't want around.
Media
image of Horse Fly on tree trunk
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tabanus, Chrysops, and related genera
Description
Meet the horse fly: Stealthily, one will land on your back, slice your skin, and lap your blood. By the time it starts to hurt and you swat at it, the painful, itchy welt is rising.
Media
American dog tick crawling on a person's skin
Species Types
Scientific Name
Three common Missouri species
Description
Ticks drink the blood of humans and other mammals. Because they can carry serious, sometimes deadly diseases, it's important to learn about ticks and how to protect yourself from their bites.
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.