Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 24 results
Media
Longhorn bee visiting a flower, viewed from side
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 1,000 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Many apid bees are well-known. This family includes the familiar honeybee, bumblebees, and carpenter bees, plus many that are less well-known. With few exceptions, most of Missouri's apid bees are native, solitary species.
Media
image of Assassin Bug crawling on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nearly 200 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Assassin bugs are usually black or brown, with an elongated head bearing a single, clawlike tube used for piercing and injecting venom into their prey. They are common in Missouri.
Media
image of Bee Fly on leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 800 species in North America
Description
Resembling bees, or sometimes big, fuzzy mosquitoes, bee flies are a family of true flies and are not bees at all. Lacking the ability to sting, their bee mimicry helps them avoid many would-be predators.
Media
Click beetle resting on a brick wall
Species Types
Scientific Name
Approximately 1,000 species in North America
Description
Their streamlined shape is distinctive, but the behavior of click beetles is even more unique: Placed on their backs, these beetles flip suddenly into the air with an audible click.
Media
A darkling beetle, genus Asiopus, walking on a white-painted wall
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 1,200 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Darkling beetles are a very large family of beetles. Most are dull black or brown, crawl on the ground, and are scavengers. Many of them resemble what you might call a “base-model” beetle.
Media
Photo of a female and male European earwig on a dead leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Forficula auricularia, Euborellia anulipes, and others.
Description
Earwigs have smooth, slender, flattened bodies that are perfect for living under rocks, leaves, and tree bark. Their pincers can repel insect predators, but they are harmless to people.
Media
Long-legged wasp grasping a wolf spider while clinging to house siding
Species Types
Scientific Name
Entypus aratus, E. unifasciatus, E. fulvicornis, and others
Description
Spider wasps in genus Entypus are bluish black and usually have some amount of amber color on their dark, smoky wings. Some species have bright yellow antennae.
Media
Green June beetle on goldenrod
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cotinis nitida
Description
The green June beetle is a common type of scarab beetle in Missouri. These large, metallic green beetles buzz loudly when they fly. They are attracted to ripe and rotting fruit and compost piles.
Media
image of Fiery Searcher on dead leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 2,400 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Ground beetles are a family of mostly nocturnal or light-shunning beetles that tend to be shiny black and have grooved wing covers. This group also includes tiger beetles, however, which includes many colorful daytime fliers.
Media
Female pigeon tremex resting on a concrete surface
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 28 species in North America
Description
Horntails look a lot like wasps but have a taillike spine that projects from the tip of the abdomen. Their cylindrical bodies also lack the narrow waist so common in wasps.
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.