Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 143 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
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
Elongate-bodied springtail on a brown leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 8,000 species globally
Description
Springtails, like insects, have six legs, but these tiny rounded, oval, or elongated creatures that hop quickly into the air are not insects. They have a separate lineage and many structural differences.
Media
magnified chigger
Species Types
Scientific Name
Trombicula alfreddugesi and other Trombicula spp. (syn. Eutrombicula)
Description
The worst thing about Missouri summers is chiggers. They are nearly invisible but leave itchy red welts. Avoid their habitat areas, especially after noon.
Media
image of a Four-Spotted Owlfly
Species Types
Scientific Name
8 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
An owlfly looks like a dragonfly with a butterfly’s head. Dragonfly shaped and sized, they have long, clubbed antennae and large, bulging eyes. Look for them in summertime dusks and evenings.
Media
image of Green Lacewing clinging to rock
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 85 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Green lacewings are delicate insects whose larvae are ravenous predators of aphids. This makes the lacewing a friend to gardeners!
Media
Photo of adult antlion with wings spread
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 100 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Adult antlions look something like drab damselflies. These insects are most familiar in their immature stages, called doodlebugs, which create pits in sand for trapping ants.
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.