Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 25 results
Media
Citrus flatid planthopper on twig
Species Types
Scientific Name
Metcalfa pruinosa
Description
The citrus flatid planthopper has a waxy coating and can look gray or tan. It eats a wide variety of plants.
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 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
Golden tortoise beetle on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Charidotella sexpunctata
Description
The golden tortoise beetle is shiny metallic gold or orange, and the edges of the elytral shields are transparent. It eats plants in the morning glory family.
Media
Deer bot fly Cephenemyia phobifer resting on a support beam at the top of a fire tower
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 40 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Bot flies are chunky, beelike flies usually with rounded heads. Adults are not commonly seen. The larvae are short, pudgy, segmented grubs that live as parasites in the tissues of animals. Those that live just under the skin often form a bulge. Some types live in the nasal or throat cavities of deer.
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 leafcutter bee
Species Types
Scientific Name
Megachile spp.
Description
Leafcutter bees are common throughout Missouri from late spring into early autumn. All are solitary. They are dark-colored with several whitish hair bands across the abdomen. One sign of their presence is the rounded holes they cut in the leaves of plants.
Media
Robber fly, genus Efferia, male, perched on a white-painted post
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 1,000 species in North America
Description
Robber flies are aerial predators of a variety of insects. They often perch in conspicuous locations and make short flights chasing prey.
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 triangle orbweaver, or arrowhead spider
Species Types
Scientific Name
Verrucosa arenata
Description
In late summer and fall, woodland hikers can count on walking into the arrowhead spider's web. These webs are delicate circles that help the spider snare tiny flying insects.
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.