Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 42 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
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
Blue-winged scoliid wasp taking nectar on English ivy flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Scolia dubia
Description
The blue-winged wasp is a common Missouri species of scoliid wasp. The abdomen has a distinctive fuzzy, rich rusty patch with two ovals of yellow. Its larvae eat Japanese beetle grubs and other scarab beetle larvae.
Media
Blue orchard bee resting on a dirt surface
Species Types
Scientific Name
Osmia lignaria
Description
The blue orchard bee is one of our native mason bees, or megachilids. It is a very important native pollinator of spring-blooming orchard trees, such as apple, pear, and cherry.
Media
Female Georgia mason bee, covered with yellow pollen, on a yellow flowerhead
Species Types
Scientific Name
Osmia georgica
Description
The Georgia mason is one of several species of mason bees in Missouri. Like other megachilid bees, it is a native solitary bee that carries pollen in a special clump of hairs on the underside of the abdomen.
Media
Red and black spider wasp visiting snow-on-the-mountain flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Psorthaspis spp.
Description
Spider wasps in genus Psorthaspis look quite a lot like velvet ants. There are several species. The ones in our area are usually red and black, just like the coloration of the velvet ants in our region.
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
Rusty spider wasp resting on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tachypompilus ferrugineus
Description
The rusty spider wasp hunts wolf spiders, usually in open areas. Females create nests in rock piles or in cracks in rock walls or foundation stones. Adults are often seen taking nectar from flowers.
Media
Black and rust-colored wasp on a plant
Species Types
Scientific Name
Poecilopompilus algidus and P. interruptus
Description
Poecilopompilus spider wasps provision their nests with orbweaver spiders. They dig nest burrows into the ground and therefore prefer sandy or other workable substrates.
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.
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.