Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 83 results
Media
Photo of an adult female house cricket walking on bark
Species Types
Scientific Name
Acheta domesticus
Description
House crickets are probably native to Eurasia but are found nearly worldwide, having traveled the globe with people. Unlike most other field crickets in our area, they are tan and brown instead of glossy black.
Media
Several termite workers and a soldier in a gallery in wood
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 50 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
People often confuse termites with ants. Termites have a fairly cylindrical body, only slightly narrowed behind the head. Termites also have a pronotum, a shieldlike plate behind the head.
Media
Moth fly resting on a white surface, viewed from above
Species Types
Scientific Name
Members of subfamily Psychodinae
Description
Moth flies look like tiny, hairy moths. People usually notice them perching next to sinks in the bathroom or kitchen. When disturbed, they usually don't fly very far before landing again, for they are weak fliers.
Media
Red-headed ash borer on tree bark
Species Types
Scientific Name
Neoclytus acuminatus
Description
Red-headed ash borers resemble wasps, but they are harmless to people. The colors and markings are distinctive. Their larvae feed on a variety of dead or dying hardwoods, helping the decomposition process and enriching the soil.
Media
Ivory-marked beetle crawling on bark
Species Types
Scientific Name
Eburia quadrigeminata
Description
The ivory-marked beetle is a longhorned beetle whose larvae bore deep into the heartwood of a variety of deciduous trees, including oak, hickory, maple, cherry, ash, elm, and more. It can live for 40 years.
Media
Female spider wasp grasping and dragging body of sac spider
Species Types
Scientific Name
Auplopus spp.
Description
There are 10 species of spider wasps in genus Auplopus in North America north of Mexico. They often snip off the legs of the spiders they capture, which makes them easier to move around.
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.
Media
Photo of a dotted wolf spider
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rabidosa punctulata
Description
The dotted wolf spider has a solid brown stripe running down the middle of the abdomen, seen from above. Like other wolf spiders, females have strong maternal instincts, carrying their spiderlings around on their back until they can be on their own.
Media
Photo of wolf spider with young
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rabidosa rabida
Description
The rabid wolf spider, despite its scary name, is harmless to people and is absolutely not rabid. It commonly hides in leaf litter and sometimes gets into houses.
Media
Photo of a spotted orbweaver or barn spider, Neoscona crucifera, with black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Neoscona spp.
Description
Missouri's Neoscona spiders, called spotted orbweavers, can be hard to identify to species. Most have camouflage patterns, and they all make the characteristic, delicate, wheel-shaped webs to catch 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.