Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 25 results
Media
American dog tick crawling on a person's skin
Species Types
Scientific Name
Three common Missouri species
Description
Ticks drink the blood of humans and other mammals. Because they can carry serious, sometimes deadly diseases, it's important to learn about ticks and how to protect yourself from their bites.
Media
image of Antlion Larva on rock
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 100 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Antlions, also called doodlebugs, are most familiar in their immature stages, when they create pits in sand in which to trap ants. The adults look something like drab damselflies.
Media
Marbled orbweaver spider in web
Species Types
Scientific Name
Araneus spp.
Description
Missouri's Araneus spiders, called angulate and roundshouldered orbweavers, can be hard to identify to species. Most have camouflage patterns, and they all make characteristic, delicate, wheel-shaped webs to catch prey.
Media
Photo of a spotted orbweaver or barn spider, Neoscona crucifera, with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Neoscona spp.
Description
Missouri's Neoscona spiders, called spotted orbweavers, can be hard to identify to species. Most have camouflage patterns, and they all make the characteristic, delicate, wheel-shaped webs to catch prey.
Media
Image of a deceased pseudoscorpion on a US dime
Species Types
Scientific Name
Various species in the order Pseudoscorpionida
Description
Pseudoscorpions are unusual little arachnids. They look something like tiny scorpions but with a rounded (and nonvenomous) hind end. They're common but often overlooked.
Media
Photo of wolf spider with young
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nearly 250 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
A wolf spider doesn't spin webs to catch its prey — it runs it down like a wolf! Spiders in this family have long legs and are usually gray, brown, black, or tan with dark brown or black body markings (especially stripes).
Media
Photo of a nursery web spider on a plant
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pisaurina spp.
Description
Nursery web spiders build silken tents in plants to protect their egg sacs, then stand guard until the hatchlings are ready to disperse. Large and velvety, nursery web spiders have long legs and variable color patterns.
Media
Photo of a longjawed orbweaver walking on a plant stalk
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tetragnatha spp.
Description
Longjawed orbweavers are called stretch spiders because they rest with their legs stretched straight out in front of and behind their slender bodies. They build their circular webs horizontally, within a few feet above the surface of a stream or lake.
Media
Photo of a male redlegged purseweb spider walking on limestone gravel
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sphodros spp.
Description
Purseweb spiders build tubular webs attached to the bases of trees. Because these are easily overlooked, most people usually only see the males, which walk around in the open in early summer as they seek mates.
Media
Photo of a furrow orbweaver hanging head down with a green background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Larinioides spp.
Description
Furrow orbweavers have a distinctive dark pattern on the abdomen that resembles a furrow. These harmless spiders are common under the eaves of homes and near porch lights.
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.