Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 38 results
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
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
Photo of a female arabesque orbweaver spider
Species Types
Scientific Name
Neoscona arabesca
Description
The arabesque orbweaver is a common orb-weaving spider in Missouri. The coloration is quite variable, but the slanting dark marks on the abdomen help to identify it.
Media
Photo of an armored harvestman walking on the ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Members of suborder Laniatores
Description
Armored harvestmen have spines on their fingerlike mouthparts (pedipalps). Unlike other harvestmen, members of this suborder of so-called daddy longlegs do not usually have long legs.
Media
Photo of a triangle orbweaver, or arrowhead spider
Species Types
Scientific Name
Verrucosa arenata
Description
In late summer and fall, woodland hikers can count on walking into the arrowhead spider's web. These webs are delicate circles that help the spider snare tiny flying insects.
Media
Photo of arrow-shaped micrathena spider
Species Types
Scientific Name
Micrathena sagittata
Description
One of three micrathena spiders in Missouri, the arrowshaped micrathena is small but unforgettable. Females have striking reddish, black, and yellow colors, and a pair of outward-pointing tubercles at the end of the body give it a triangular or "arrow" shape.
Media
Photo of a spotted orbweaver or barn spider, Neoscona crucifera, with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Neoscona crucifera
Description
A widespread species, the barn spider commonly builds its webs in woods and on the eaves of barns, houses, and similar structures.
Media
Photo of a female scorpionfly perched on a leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Panorpa spp.
Description
Male scorpionflies will make you look twice, because the abdomen is tipped with what looks like a scorpion stinger! These nifty insects cannot sting, however.
Media
Photo of a Harvestman, viewed from above
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 6,500 species have been named so far, worldwide.
Description
Daddy longlegs, or harvestmen, are familiar Missouri animals. They are not spiders, but opilionids. Unlike spiders, they have a fused body form and lack silk and venom glands.
Media
Photo of a dark fishing spider standing on a rubber tire.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dolomedes tenebrosus
Description
The dark fishing spider often evokes alarm because of its large size. This mottled black and brown spider is often misidentified. It is not always found near permanent water.
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.