Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 50 results
Media
image of Xystodesmid Millipede crawling on a forest floor
Species Types
Scientific Name
8 tribes, with about 23 genera, in North America north of Mexico
Description
Millipedes in family Xystodesmidae often have bright colors that serve as a warning to potential predators that they may secrete foul or toxic substances.
Media
Lesser angle-winged katydid resting on the ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Microcentrum retinerve
Description
The lesser angle-winged katydid is one of our common species of so-called false katydids. Its song is a single 3-5-pulsed rattle, with about a second of silence between each rattle.
Media
Male eastern Hercules beetle walking in grass
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dynastes tityus
Description
The eastern Hercules beetle is a breathtaking animal. Like its Greek-hero namesake, it is big and strong. Males have horns; females do not. Hercules beetles are harmless to people.
Media
Pine tree spur-throat grasshopper resting on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Melanoplus punctulatus
Description
The pine tree spur-throat grasshopper usually lives in wooded areas, where its mottled, brownish-gray camouflage protects it when it rests on tree trunks.
Media
Photo of a giant walkingstick
Species Types
Scientific Name
Megaphasma denticrus
Description
The giant walkingstick is the largest insect in North America, with females up to 7 inches long. The middle and hind legs have spines. Males have a single, large spine on each hind leg.
Media
Photo of walkingsticks during outbreak
Species Types
Scientific Name
Diapheromera femorata
Description
The northern walkingstick is Missouri's most common species of walkingstick. It is perfectly camouflaged for a life in trees and shrubs. They not only look like twigs but also sway their bodies to mimic the motion of branches in a breeze.
Media
Photo of an adult antlion with distinctively marked black and pink wings
Species Types
Scientific Name
Glenurus gratus
Description
The antlion known to science as Glenurus gratus ought to be called the pleasing antlion, but it has no formal common name.
Media
Photo of a meloe blister beetle, female, on ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Meloe spp.
Description
Blister beetles in the genus Meloe are called oil beetles because of a yellowish oil they excrete from their joints when squeezed or distressed. This oil contains cantharidin, an irritating chemical that can cause blistering in many people.
Media
Photo of eyed click beetle on bark
Species Types
Scientific Name
Alaus oculatus
Description
The eyed click beetle is only one of about 1,000 species of click beetles in North America. Most of the others are drab in comparison.
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.
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.