Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 83 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
Three-banded grasshopper resting on a grass stalk with a blue background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hadrotettix trifasciatus
Description
The three-banded grasshopper is one of our most attractively marked grasshoppers, with three sharply marked dark bands.
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
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
Red-femured milkweed borer beetle on milkweed leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tetraopes spp.
Description
Milkweed longhorns are a genus of longhorned beetles that feed on milkweed. They are red with black spots. The species are very similar.
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
Convergent lady beetle crawling on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hippodamia convergens
Description
One of our many native lady beetles, the convergent lady beetle is named for two short white lines on the black pronotum (shoulderlike section behind the head) that converge toward each other.
Media
Polished lady beetle crawling on a twig
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cycloneda munda
Description
The polished lady beetle lacks spots. One of our many native lady beetles, it eats aphids, which endears it to gardeners and farmers.
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
Four-spotted lady beetle on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Brachiacantha quadripunctata
Description
Not all Missouri lady beetles are red with black spots. The four-spotted lady beetle reverses the pattern.
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.