Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 17 results
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
image of Black Giant Ichneumon Wasp on tree trunk
Species Types
Scientific Name
Megarhyssa atrata
Description
The female black giant ichneumon wasp deposits her eggs through wood. The larvae eat the grubs of wood-boring insects.
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
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
Blue-winged wasp viewed from above, showing wrinkled surface of wings
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 20 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Scoliid wasps are a family of beetle hunters. Large, rather hairy wasps, some are handsomely colored. The female digs in soil, finds a scarab beetle grub, and lays an egg on it.
Media
eastern stizus wasp on goldenrod
Species Types
Scientific Name
Stizus brevipennis
Description
The eastern stizus is a large, solitary wasp that is often misidentified as the better-known eastern cicada-killer wasp. The markings are slightly different, however, and the eastern stizus female hunts katydids, not cicadas.
Media
Glossy black spider wasp manipulating paralyzed spider
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 300 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
People notice spider wasps when they notice a female lugging a captured spider to its doom. In most cases, she will drag the spider into a burrow, lay an egg on the spider, and then hunt for more spiders!
Media
image of an Ichneumon Wasp on tree trunk
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 5,000 species in North America
Description
Most ichneumon wasps are harmless, although the long ovipositor of the female is intimidating. Their larvae live as parasites inside caterpillars and other larval insects.
Media
image of female Long-Tailed Giant Ichneumon Wasp on tree trunk
Species Types
Scientific Name
Megarhyssa macrurus
Description
The female long-tailed giant ichneumon wasp deposits her eggs through wood. The larvae eat the grubs of the pigeon tremex, a wood-boring horntail wasp.
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.