Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 14 results
Media
Photo of a goldenrod crab spider, whitish individual, on native aster flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Misumena vatia
Description
The goldenrod crab spider can change color from white to yellow, depending upon the blossom it's in. The female often has an orange or reddish stripe running along each side of the abdomen, extending from the front to about halfway down the side.
Media
image of greenbottle fly on carcass
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 84 species in North America.
Description
Many blow flies are so shiny and colorful they’re called greenbottles and bluebottles. But pretty as they are, it’s hard not to be repulsed by their larval diets.
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
Common green darner dragonfly perched on a dried flowering stalk, viewed from above
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anax junius
Description
The common green darner is abundant and well-known for its bright green, blue, and purple colors. A large dragonfly up to 3 inches long, it is a migratory species that travels south in autumn.
Media
Photo of a Spangled Skimmer dragonfly, male
Species Types
Scientific Name
Libellula cyanea
Description
The spangled skimmer grows to nearly 2 inches long. Each of the 4 wings has a white spot beside a black spot on the outer leading edge. Males are blue with a dark head. Females are dark brown with lengthwise yellow stripes.
Media
Photo of a slaty skimmer dragonfly, male.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Libellula incesta
Description
The slaty skimmer has a body about 2 inches long. Older males are all slate blue with black heads. Young males and females have brown abdomens and a dark stripe running down the back.
Media
Mating pair of common claybank tiger beetles at Smith CA, April 16, 2022
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cicindela limbalis
Description
The common claybank tiger beetle, or green-margined tiger beetle, occurs on dirt clay soils in open areas in spring and, less abundantly, in late summer. Color varies from red to purple to green. The outer shell edges are often edged with shiny green.
Media
image of Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle crawling on dead leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Subfamily Cicindelinae (about 100 species in North America)
Description
Dizzyingly fast runners and fliers, tiger beetles are remarkable, and often very colorful, insect predators.
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
Marbled orbweaver spider in web
Species Types
Scientific Name
Araneus marmoreus
Description
The marbled orbweaver is sometimes called the “pumpkin spider” because its rounded abdomen is sometimes bright orange. The color and markings can vary greatly.
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.