Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 9 of 9 results
Media
image of a Thread-Waisted Wasp
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ammophila spp.
Description
There are more than 60 species of ammophila wasps in North America. They tend to be black, with orange on the abdomen. They are but one genus in the thread-waisted wasp family.
Media
Acrobat ants on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 700 species in North America
Description
Ants are everywhere! They outnumber us a million to one. These colonial insects are familiar to everyone on Earth. Their lives are endlessly fascinating.
Media
image of a Feather-Legged Fly
Species Types
Scientific Name
Trichopoda spp.
Description
Feather-legged flies are a genus in the tachinid fly family. They are beelike and have a feathery fringe of hairs on their hind legs, resembling the pollen basket of honeybees.
Media
image of a Flower Fly on a flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nearly 900 species in North America
Description
Harmless flies and valuable pollinators, flower flies are incredibly convincing mimics of bees, wasps, and yellowjackets. Recognize them as true flies by their single pair of wings, short antennae, and flylike compound eyes.
Media
A metallic green sweat bee gathering pollen on a yellow flowerhead
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 500 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Missouri has many species of halictid bees, or sweat bees. Some are solitary, but a number show different levels of social behavior. They're named for their attraction to perspiration, which offers them precious moisture and salts.
Media
image of an Ichneumon Wasp on tree trunk
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 5,000 species in North America
Description
Most ichneumon wasps are harmless, although the long ovipositor of the female is intimidating. Their larvae live as parasites inside caterpillars and other larval insects.
Media
Black and rust-colored wasp on a plant
Species Types
Scientific Name
Poecilopompilus algidus and P. interruptus
Description
Poecilopompilus spider wasps provision their nests with orbweaver spiders. They dig nest burrows into the ground and therefore prefer sandy or other workable substrates.
Media
Red and black spider wasp visiting snow-on-the-mountain flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Psorthaspis spp.
Description
Spider wasps in genus Psorthaspis look quite a lot like velvet ants. There are several species. The ones in our area are usually red and black, just like the coloration of the velvet ants in our region.
Media
Glossy black spider wasp manipulating paralyzed spider
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 300 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
People notice spider wasps when they notice a female lugging a captured spider to its doom. In most cases, she will drag the spider into a burrow, lay an egg on the spider, and then hunt for more spiders!
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.