Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 37 results
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
Photo of a meloe blister beetle, female, on ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 400 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
The name is a warning: blister beetles are famous for their chemical defenses. Beetles in this family can exude an oil that can cause a person’s skin to blister.
Media
Image of Tomentose Burying Beetle crawling on the ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nicrophorus, Necrophila, Necrodes, and others
Description
Beetles in the family Silphidae are called carrion beetles, burying beetles, and sexton beetles. They are usually black and often have red, orange, or yellow markings. Members of this group eat dead animals or scavenge dung or decaying plant material.
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
Convergent lady beetle crawling on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hippodamia convergens
Description
One of our many native lady beetles, the convergent lady beetle is named for two short white lines on the black pronotum (shoulderlike section behind the head) that converge toward each other.
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
Dogbane beetle resting on a window
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chrysochus auratus
Description
The shiny, iridescent dogbane beetle is one of Missouri's most beautiful insects. As the name indicates, this beautiful beetle feeds on dogbanes.
Media
Dung beetle rolling a dung ball
Species Types
Scientific Name
Subfamilies Scarabaeinae and Aphodiinae
Description
Horses, cattle, dogs, and deer all drop manna from above to eager dung beetles, which collect, hoard, and guard the precious organic materials left undigested in the pile.
Media
Ebony bug resting in the palm of a person’s hand
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 40 species in 3 genera in North America north of Mexico
Description
Ebony bugs are definitely true bugs, but they look a lot like tiny, shiny black beetles. Their bodies are fat ovals. They’re almost always seen on flower clusters and immature seeds, often on members of the carrot or parsley family.
Media
Elm borer beetle resting on rocks in a flower planter
Species Types
Scientific Name
Saperda tridentata
Description
The elm borer is a longhorned beetle whose larvae bore galleries under the bark of elm trees. The orangish markings on the adults are distinctive.
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.