Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 103 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
Photo of a robber fly, genus Ommatius, perched on a wall.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ommatius spp.
Description
Ommatius robber flies are medium-sized robber flies with distinctively branching antennae. There are about four of five species that might occur in Missouri.
Media
Photo of an adult female house cricket walking on bark
Species Types
Scientific Name
Acheta domesticus
Description
House crickets are probably native to Eurasia but are found nearly worldwide, having traveled the globe with people. Unlike most other field crickets in our area, they are tan and brown instead of glossy black.
Media
Virginia flower fly resting on a concrete surface
Species Types
Scientific Name
Milesia virginiensis
Description
The yellowjacket hover fly, or Virginia flower fly, is a completely harmless mimic of yellowjackets. No more dangerous than a housefly, it buzzes around and seems aggressive.
Media
Green mantidfly perched on a screen window
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 11 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Mantidflies look like a cross between a lacewing insect and a praying mantis. They are small, delicate creatures with intricately veined wings, but the front half looks like a mantid, complete with raptorial forelegs.
Media
Moth fly resting on a white surface, viewed from above
Species Types
Scientific Name
Members of subfamily Psychodinae
Description
Moth flies look like tiny, hairy moths. People usually notice them perching next to sinks in the bathroom or kitchen. When disturbed, they usually don't fly very far before landing again, for they are weak fliers.
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 female openfield orbweaver spider crouching on a plant stalk
Species Types
Scientific Name
Araneus pratensis
Description
The openfield orbweaver is a common nocturnal orb-weaving spider in Missouri.
Media
Spiny assassin bug walking on a white napkin
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sinea spinipes
Description
The spiny assassin bug is one of nearly 200 species of assassin bugs in North America. It walks, hops, and flies to capture its insect prey.
Media
Photo of an armored harvestman walking on the ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Members of suborder Laniatores
Description
Armored harvestmen have spines on their fingerlike mouthparts (pedipalps). Unlike other harvestmen, members of this suborder of so-called daddy longlegs do not usually have long legs.
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.