Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 8 of 8 results
Media
image of a Feather-Legged Fly
Species Types
Scientific Name
Trichopoda spp.
Description
Feather-legged flies are a genus in the tachinid fly family. They are beelike and have a feathery fringe of hairs on their hind legs, resembling the pollen basket of honeybees.
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 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
Virginia flower fly resting on a concrete surface
Species Types
Scientific Name
Milesia virginiensis
Description
The yellowjacket hover fly, or Virginia flower fly, is a completely harmless mimic of yellowjackets. No more dangerous than a housefly, it buzzes around and seems aggressive.
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
image of a Flower Fly on a flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nearly 900 species in North America
Description
Harmless flies and valuable pollinators, flower flies are incredibly convincing mimics of bees, wasps, and yellowjackets. Recognize them as true flies by their single pair of wings, short antennae, and flylike compound eyes.
Media
image of a Mydas Fly
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 80 species in North America
Description
Mydas flies are quite large, and although they resemble wasps, they are harmless. Note that all true flies have only one pair of wings. Also note the clubbed antennae (unusual for flies).
Media
Robber fly, genus Efferia, male, perched on a white-painted post
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 1,000 species in North America
Description
Robber flies are aerial predators of a variety of insects. They often perch in conspicuous locations and make short flights chasing prey.
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.