Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 17 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
Asian longhorned beetle male, specimen
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anoplophora glabripennis
Description
An unwanted arrival from Asia that's now living in parts of the United States, the Asian longhorned beetle could destroy millions of acres of American hardwoods. Report any sightings immediately.
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
Male eastern Hercules beetle walking in grass
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dynastes tityus
Description
The eastern Hercules beetle is a breathtaking animal. Like its Greek-hero namesake, it is big and strong. Males have horns; females do not. Hercules beetles are harmless to people.
Media
Photo of eyed click beetle on bark
Species Types
Scientific Name
Alaus oculatus
Description
The eyed click beetle is only one of about 1,000 species of click beetles in North America. Most of the others are drab in comparison.
Media
Photo of a male giant stag beetle on moss
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lucanus elaphus
Description
The giant stag beetle is enormous, the males reaching 1½ inches in length without the mandibles, and nearly 2½ with them. Look for them on rotting logs in forests in early summer. They’re also attracted to lights.
Media
Green June beetle on goldenrod
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cotinis nitida
Description
The green June beetle is a common type of scarab beetle in Missouri. These large, metallic green beetles buzz loudly when they fly. They are attracted to ripe and rotting fruit and compost piles.
Media
image of Fiery Searcher on dead leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 2,400 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Ground beetles are mostly nocturnal or light-shunning beetles that tend to be shiny black and have grooved wing covers. This group also includes tiger beetles, however, which includes many colorful daytime fliers.
Media
image of Horned Passalus crawling on wood
Species Types
Scientific Name
Odontotaenius disjunctus
Description
The horned passalus lives in colonies in rotting wood. It is Missouri’s only representative of a beetle family called the “Bess beetles” or “patent leather beetles.” Oh, and it can talk to you, too.
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.