Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 45 results
Media
Photo of an American burying beetle
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nicrophorus americanus
Description
The American burying beetle is endangered statewide and threatened nationally. Restoration efforts are under way. This brightly patterned beetle specializes in cleaning carrion from the landscape, burying dead mice, birds, and other creatures.
Media
image of American Carrion Beetle
Species Types
Scientific Name
Necrophila americana
Description
The American carrion beetle has a yellow pronotum with a big black spot in the middle. Adults of this species of silphid beetle eat fly maggots, plus some carrion. In flight, they seem like bumblebees.
Media
Banded longhorn beetle on a wild rose
Species Types
Scientific Name
Typocerus velutinus
Description
The banded longhorn is a common species of longhorned beetle. Adults visit flowers for nectar, and larvae feed on decaying oak and hickory wood.
Media
Photo of a meloe blister beetle, female, on ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 400 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
The name is a warning: blister beetles are famous for their chemical defenses. Beetles in this family can exude an oil that can cause a person’s skin to blister.
Media
Image of Tomentose Burying Beetle crawling on the ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nicrophorus, Necrophila, Necrodes, and others
Description
Beetles in the family Silphidae are called carrion beetles, burying beetles, and sexton beetles. They are usually black and often have red, orange, or yellow markings. Members of this group eat dead animals or scavenge dung or decaying plant material.
Media
Click beetle resting on a brick wall
Species Types
Scientific Name
Approximately 1,000 species in North America
Description
Their streamlined shape is distinctive, but the behavior of click beetles is even more unique: Placed on their backs, these beetles flip suddenly into the air with an audible click.
Media
image of Cocklebur Weevil
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rhodobaenus quinquepunctatus
Description
The cocklebur weevil is about ¼ to ½ inch long. The larvae bore inside the stems and roots of cocklebur, ragweed, and other plants in the sunflower family.
Media
Convergent lady beetle crawling on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hippodamia convergens
Description
One of our many native lady beetles, the convergent lady beetle is named for two short white lines on the black pronotum (shoulderlike section behind the head) that converge toward each other.
Media
Dark flower scarab clinging to a flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Euphoria sepulcralis
Description
The dark flower scarab is a scarab beetle that apparently eats pollen, nectar, and perhaps other parts of flowers in late spring, sometimes becoming an agricultural pest. The larvae grow up beneath manure or other decaying materials.
Media
Delta flower scarab clinging to flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Trigonopeltastes delta
Description
The delta flower scarab got its name from the bright yellow triangle on its pronotum. It commonly visits a variety of flowers in prairies, old fields, and other open areas.
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.