Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 13 results
Media
Photo of adult antlion with wings spread
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 100 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Adult antlions look something like drab damselflies. These insects are most familiar in their immature stages, called doodlebugs, which create pits in sand for trapping ants.
Media
Black saddlebags dragonfly perched on an upright twig
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tramea lacerata
Description
The black saddlebags is a dragonfly with memorable markings. Two dark blotches on each hindwing look like saddlebags.
Media
Photo of a Cobra Clubtail dragonfly
Species Types
Scientific Name
Gomphurus vastus
Description
The cobra clubtail is in the family of dragonflies called clubtails, named for the enlarged abdomen tip. There are about 100 species in this dragonfly family in North America north of Mexico.
Media
Common green darner dragonfly perched on a dried flowering stalk, viewed from above
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anax junius
Description
The common green darner is abundant and well-known for its bright green, blue, and purple colors. A large dragonfly up to 3 inches long, it is a migratory species that travels south in autumn.
Media
Male common whitetail dragonfly perched on a twig
Species Types
Scientific Name
Plathemis lydia
Description
The common whitetail is a widespread species found across much of North America. Males and females look quite a bit different.
Media
Photo of an adult damselfly on a twig next to water.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Species in the suborder Zygoptera
Description
Like dragonflies, damselflies have long bodies, two pairs of long, membranous, finely veined wings, and predaceous aquatic larvae that have extendible mouthparts. Damselflies typically hold their wings together, above the body.
Media
Photo of a male Banded Pennant dragonfly
Species Types
Scientific Name
Species in the suborder Anisoptera
Description
Like damselflies, dragonflies have long bodies, two pairs of long, membranous, finely veined wings, and predaceous aquatic larvae. Dragonflies typically hold their wings stretched outward, horizontally.
Media
Photo of a Hine's emerald dragonfly
Species Types
Scientific Name
Somatochlora hineana
Description
The Hine's emerald dragonfly is a federally endangered species. It has a dark emerald-green thorax and two yellow stripes on its sides. It lives in calcareous spring-fed marshes and sedge meadows overlaying dolomite bedrock.
Media
Newly emerged adult pronghorn clubtail dragonfly perched on a grass stem
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phanogomphus graslinellus
Description
The pronghorn clubtail is one of several members of its genus in our area that are generally difficult to identify. Like other dragonflies, it is an aerial predator that hunts insects on the wing.
Media
Photo of a slaty skimmer dragonfly, male.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Libellula incesta
Description
The slaty skimmer has a body about 2 inches long. Older males are all slate blue with black heads. Young males and females have brown abdomens and a dark stripe running down the back.
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.