Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 11 results
Media
Jagged ambush bug on a plant stem
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phymata spp. and others in subfamily Phymatinae (ambush bugs)
Description
Ambush bugs are a subfamily of assassin bugs. They’re chunky, small insects with powerful grasping forelegs. They hide motionless in flowers waiting for prey to venture near.
Media
several yellow aphids on plant
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 1,300 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Aphids are common, small, soft-bodied insects that suck plant juices. To see them well, you probably need a hand lens, but the damage they do to plants can be all too obvious!
Media
image of Assassin Bug crawling on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nearly 200 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Assassin bugs are usually black or brown, with an elongated head bearing a single, clawlike tube used for piercing and injecting venom into their prey. They are common in Missouri.
Media
Dogwood spittlebug resting on the edge of a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Clastoptera proteus
Description
The adult dogwood spittlebug has distinctive black and yellow markings. It feeds on dogwoods, blueberries, and their relatives.
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”).
Media
Orange assassin bug walking on tree bark at Mint Spring
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pselliopus barberi
Description
The orange assassin bug, Pselliopus barberi, is about ½ inch long and is one of our most attractive non-butterfly insects. They overwinter in groups as adults under loose bark.
Media
Acanaloniid planthopper, green, viewed from side
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 900 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Planthoppers are a large and diverse group of small hopping bugs. They tend to be less abundant than other types of hoppers.
Media
image of a Spittlebug and nest on plant stem
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 60 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
The nymphs of spittlebugs and froghoppers are famous for hiding in small foamy masses of fluid. The “spit” conceals them as they suck juices from plant stems. The adults resemble leafhoppers.
Media
Tan stink bug on dead leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
In North America, more than 200 species in 64 genera
Description
Stink bugs are shield-shaped insects that can smell really bad. This is a large family of true bugs known for producing a foul odor when harassed.
Media
Photo of an adult two-lined spittlebug on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Prosapia bicincta
Description
The two-lined spittlebug is a common member of the froghopper family. The two lines may be red, orange, or yellow. Some individuals are all black, except for the red eyes.
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.