Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 28 results
Media
Squash bug on sand
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anasa tristis and other Anasa spp.
Description
Sooner or later, most Missouri gardeners learn about squash bugs, which feed on the foliage of squash, pumpkins, melons, cucumbers, and other plants in the squash family.
Media
image of Walker's Cicada clinging to a perch
Species Types
Scientific Name
Neotibicen spp. (in Missouri) (formerly Tibicen)
Description
Annual cicadas look like larger and greener versions of the famous periodical cicadas. Annual cicadas go through a life cycle of only about 2–5 years, and some are present every year — thus they are called annual.
Media
periodical cicada shown from the side
Species Types
Scientific Name
Magicicada spp.
Description
Periodical cicadas live as nymphs for 13 or 17 years underground, and then emerge simultaneously to metamorphose into their adult form. Tremendous numbers of periodical cicadas, calling all at once, are a memorable event.
Media
Orange assassin bug walking on tree bark at Mint Spring
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pselliopus barberi
Description
The orange assassin bug, Pselliopus barberi, is about ½ inch long and is one of our most attractive non-butterfly insects. They overwinter in groups as adults under loose bark.
Media
Large milkweed bug on a milkweed leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Oncopeltus fasciatus
Description
The large milkweed bug, with its bold black-and-orange pattern, is one of the most beautiful of the true bugs. Look for it on milkweeds, from midsummer through the first hard freeze.
Media
several yellow aphids on plant
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 1,300 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Aphids are common, small, soft-bodied insects that suck plant juices. To see them well, you probably need a hand lens, but the damage they do to plants can be all too obvious!
Media
image of a Leafhopper on leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 3,000 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
The leafhoppers are a large and diverse family of sap-sucking, hopping insects. You can distinguish them from similar groups of hoppers by the hind legs, which have at least one row of small spines on the hind tibiae (“shins”).
Media
Two-marked treehopper clinging to a stem
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 260 species in North America North of Mexico
Description
Treehoppers can resemble thorns, bark, weird plant bumps, or tiny leaves. If you can recognize one of these as an insect, you're doing well!
Media
Citrus flatid planthopper on twig
Species Types
Scientific Name
Metcalfa pruinosa
Description
The citrus flatid planthopper has a waxy coating and can look gray or tan. It eats a wide variety of plants.
Media
Spiny assassin bug walking on a white napkin
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sinea spinipes
Description
The spiny assassin bug is one of nearly 200 species of assassin bugs in North America. It walks, hops, and flies to capture its insect 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.