Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 65 results
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
Green mantidfly perched on a screen window
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 11 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Mantidflies look like a cross between a lacewing insect and a praying mantis. They are small, delicate creatures with intricately veined wings, but the front half looks like a mantid, complete with raptorial forelegs.
Media
Female Georgia mason bee, covered with yellow pollen, on a yellow flowerhead
Species Types
Scientific Name
Osmia georgica
Description
The Georgia mason is one of several species of mason bees in Missouri. Like other megachilid bees, it is a native solitary bee that carries pollen in a special clump of hairs on the underside of the abdomen.
Media
Male blue dasher dragonfly perched on the tip of a twig, with dew on its wings
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pachydiplax longipennis
Description
Blue dasher males and females look quite different. Both have a white face, a black abdomen tip, and slanted black and yellow stripes on the thorax. But males are blue and females are striped black and yellow.
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.
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.
Media
Photo of a swift crab spider, female, from above.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Mecaphesa celer (formerly Misumenops celer)
Description
The swift crab spider has many spiny hairs covering the top of its body and legs, and it often has a light pinkish-tan cast.
Media
Photo of a green crab spider on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Misumessus oblongus (formerly Misumenops oblonga)
Description
The green crab spider has spines, and the entire body and legs are pale green to silvery white. Like other crab spiders, its legs extend outward from the sides, and it can walk in any direction.
Media
Newly emerged adult pronghorn clubtail dragonfly perched on a grass stem
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phanogomphus graslinellus
Description
The pronghorn clubtail is one of several members of its genus in our area that are generally difficult to identify. Like other dragonflies, it is an aerial predator that hunts insects on the wing.
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.