Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 160 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
image of a Carolina Grasshopper
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dissosteira carolina
Description
The Carolina grasshopper is frequently seen in dusty, open habitats like dirt roads and vacant lots. Its yellow-bordered, black hindwings make it look like a mourning cloak butterfly.
Media
Lichen grasshopper sitting on a rock
Species Types
Scientific Name
Trimerotropis saxatilis
Description
The lichen grasshopper sticks to sunny, rocky areas, such as the many rocky glades and hilltops in the Ozarks, where lichens are plentiful. It is perfectly camouflaged there.
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 a green-eyed robber fly depositing eggs into Missouri ironweed flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Promachus vertebratus
Description
The green robber fly is one of several species of robber flies called giant robber flies or bee killers. They are indeed large, with distinctive yellow and dark stripes on the abdomen and iridescent green eyes.
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
image of American Carrion Beetle
Species Types
Scientific Name
Necrophila americana
Description
The American carrion beetle has a yellow pronotum with a big black spot in the middle. Adults of this species of silphid beetle eat fly maggots, plus some carrion. In flight, they seem like bumblebees.
Media
Several termite workers and a soldier in a gallery in wood
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 50 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
People often confuse termites with ants. Termites have a fairly cylindrical body, only slightly narrowed behind the head. Termites also have a pronotum, a shieldlike plate behind the head.
Media
Delta flower scarab clinging to flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Trigonopeltastes delta
Description
The delta flower scarab got its name from the bright yellow triangle on its pronotum. It commonly visits a variety of flowers in prairies, old fields, and other open areas.
Media
Male eastern Hercules beetle walking in grass
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dynastes tityus
Description
The eastern Hercules beetle is a breathtaking animal. Like its Greek-hero namesake, it is big and strong. Males have horns; females do not. Hercules beetles 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.