Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 38 results
Media
American dog tick crawling on a person's skin
Species Types
Scientific Name
Three common Missouri species
Description
Ticks drink the blood of humans and other mammals. Because they can carry serious, sometimes deadly diseases, it's important to learn about ticks and how to protect yourself from their bites.
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 longjawed orbweaver walking on a plant stalk
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tetragnatha spp.
Description
Longjawed orbweavers are called stretch spiders because they rest with their legs stretched straight out in front of and behind their slender bodies. They build their circular webs horizontally, within a few feet above the surface of a stream or lake.
Media
Photo of a furrow orbweaver hanging head down with a green background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Larinioides spp.
Description
Furrow orbweavers have a distinctive dark pattern on the abdomen that resembles a furrow. These harmless spiders are common under the eaves of homes and near porch lights.
Media
striped bark scorpion on a rock
Species Types
Scientific Name
Centruroides vittatus
Description
Striped bark scorpions are pale yellowish brown, usually with two lengthwise dark stripes on the abdomen. It is the only species of scorpion in Missouri. It occurs in glades and other dry, warm, rocky areas, and sometimes in buildings and shelters and under piles of wood, brush, or garbage.
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 featherlegged orbweaver and egg case on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Uloborus glomosus
Description
The featherlegged orbweaver has two very long forelegs that, when held together, look like a tiny twig resting in the circular web. When they’re held apart, the spider looks like a little V.
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 male redlegged purseweb spider walking on limestone gravel
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sphodros spp.
Description
Purseweb spiders build tubular webs attached to the bases of trees. Because these are easily overlooked, most people usually only see the males, which walk around in the open in early summer as they seek mates.
Media
Closeup of brown recluse spider on floor.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Loxosceles reclusa
Description
The brown recluse is a spider whose venomous bite may be medically significant to humans, though a bite is almost never fatal. Brown recluses are most commonly encountered in houses, where they occupy little-used drawers, closets, and other small hiding spaces.
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.