Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 22 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
Image of a great golden digger wasp.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sphex ichneumoneus
Description
A large solitary wasp, the great golden digger wasp occurs throughout Missouri. The abdomen is orange in front and black at the end. The head and thorax have golden hairs. Like all solitary wasps, this species is not aggressive.
Media
image of Black-and-Yellow Mud Dauber
Species Types
Scientific Name
Three genera: Sceliphron, Trypoxylon, and Chalybion
Description
Mud daubers are among the most familiar solitary wasps. They belong to a number of related groups, but we call them all "mud daubers" because they all build their nests out of mud. One way to tell the different mud daubers apart is by the distinctive architecture they use.
Media
Image of a red velvet ant
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nearly 500 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Velvet ants are not true ants. True ants are social insects, while velvet ants are a group of solitary wasps. Female velvet ants are wingless throughout their lives; males are winged.
Media
Wood cockroach crawling on tree
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 100 species of cockroaches and termites in North America north of Mexico
Description
Cockroaches well-known: they are flattened, small, brown or black, often shiny insects that can hide in tight crevices and lack specialized appendages. Recently, termites have been included in their order.
Media
image of Bee Fly on leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 800 species in North America
Description
Resembling bees, or sometimes big, fuzzy mosquitoes, bee flies are a family of true flies and are not bees at all. Lacking the ability to sting, their bee mimicry helps them avoid many would-be predators.
Media
image of a Mydas Fly
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 80 species in North America
Description
Mydas flies are quite large, and although they resemble wasps, they are harmless. Note that all true flies have only one pair of wings. Also note the clubbed antennae (unusual for flies).
Media
Blue-winged wasp viewed from above, showing wrinkled surface of wings
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 20 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Scoliid wasps are a family of beetle hunters. Large, rather hairy wasps, some are handsomely colored. The female digs in soil, finds a scarab beetle grub, and lays an egg on it.
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
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.