Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 28 results
Media
image of Xystodesmid Millipede crawling on a forest floor
Species Types
Scientific Name
8 tribes, with about 23 genera, in North America north of Mexico
Description
Millipedes in family Xystodesmidae often have bright colors that serve as a warning to potential predators that they may secrete foul or toxic substances.
Media
Photo of a rainbow scarab beetle, male.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phanaeus vindex
Description
Although most dung beetles are dull black, the rainbow scarab is bright metallic green and copper.
Media
Adult spotted lanternfly resting on bark, viewed from side
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lycorma delicatula
Description
The spotted lanternfly has not yet been found in Missouri, but it is present in several eastern states. It has the potential to damage our forests and food supply by feeding destructively on trees and crops.
Media
Photo of an adult antlion with distinctively marked black and pink wings
Species Types
Scientific Name
Glenurus gratus
Description
The antlion known to science as Glenurus gratus ought to be called the pleasing antlion, but it has no formal common name.
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
V-marked lady beetle crawling on a flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Neoharmonia venusta
Description
The V-marked lady beetle, one of our many native lady beetles, is very attractive. The pattern and coloration can vary greatly among individuals, but most in this species have a V on the back.
Media
Ninebark calligraphy beetle on cluster of ninebark flower buds
Species Types
Scientific Name
Calligrapha spiraea
Description
The ninebark calligraphy beetle is one of nearly 40 North American calligraphy beetles, named for the scrawly markings on their backs. Most calligraphy beetles require particular host plants.
Media
Dogbane beetle resting on a window
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chrysochus auratus
Description
The shiny, iridescent dogbane beetle is one of Missouri's most beautiful insects. As the name indicates, this beautiful beetle feeds on dogbanes.
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.