Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 6 of 6 results
Media
image of Assassin Bug crawling on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nearly 200 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Assassin bugs are usually black or brown, with an elongated head bearing a single, clawlike tube used for piercing and injecting venom into their prey. They are common in Missouri.
Media
Leaf-footed bug on a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nearly 90 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Leaf-footed bugs are a large family of true bugs that are named for the flattened, leaflike extensions that many have on their hind legs. They fly well, and many smell bad when handled. Squash bugs are a famous member of this group.
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
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
Adult spotted lanternfly resting on bark, viewed from side
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lycorma delicatula
Description
The spotted lanternfly has not yet been found in Missouri, but it is present in several eastern states. It has the potential to damage our forests and food supply by feeding destructively on trees and crops.
Media
image of a Wheel Bug, Side View
Species Types
Scientific Name
Arilus cristatus
Description
The wheel bug is a large gray or brown insect that carries something interesting on its back: Is it a cog, or a wheel, or a circular saw blade?
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.