Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 9 of 9 results
Media
Marbled orbweaver spider in web
Species Types
Scientific Name
Araneus spp.
Description
Missouri's Araneus spiders, called angulate and roundshouldered orbweavers, can be hard to identify to species. Most have camouflage patterns, and they all make characteristic, delicate, wheel-shaped webs to catch prey.
Media
Photo of arrow-shaped micrathena spider
Species Types
Scientific Name
Micrathena sagittata
Description
One of three micrathena spiders in Missouri, the arrowshaped micrathena is small but unforgettable. Females have striking reddish, black, and yellow colors, and a pair of outward-pointing tubercles at the end of the body give it a triangular or "arrow" shape.
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.
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 an orchard orbweaver with a black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Leucauge venusta
Description
The orchard orbweaver is a small, colorful, greenish, delicate spider that makes circular webs in low bushes and damp woodlands. It typically hangs in the middle of its web, its back to the ground.
Media
Photo of a male redlegged purseweb spider walking on limestone gravel
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sphodros spp.
Description
Purseweb spiders build tubular webs attached to the bases of trees. Because these are easily overlooked, most people usually only see the males, which walk around in the open in early summer as they seek mates.
Media
White micrathena, side view
Species Types
Scientific Name
Micrathena spp.
Description
Missouri has three species of spiny orbweavers in genus Micrathena. The webs of these woodland spiders are often run into by hikers!
Media
Photo of a tan jumping spider
Species Types
Scientific Name
Platycriptus undatus
Description
The tan jumping spider usually lives on tree trunks. Its gray, tan, and brown coloration camouflages it against tree bark. There is usually an undulating pattern on the abdomen.
Media
True velvet mite walking on a dolomite outcrop at Painted Rock Conservation Area
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 300 species globally
Description
True velvet mites: You’ve probably seen these small, velvety, bright red mites creeping around on rocks, plant containers, tree trunks, or on the ground, especially after a rain. Be not afraid! They are harmless — to people.
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.