Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 60 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
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
Underside of hackberry leaf showing hackberry nipple galls
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pachypsylla spp.
Description
Hackberry psyllids are a genus of tiny, planthopper-like bugs. As larvae, they develop within the leaves, twigs, buds, or bark of hackberry trees. The trees form warty galls in response to their presence. In the fall, tiny adult hackberry psyllids cling to window screens.
Media
True velvet mite walking on a dolomite outcrop at Painted Rock Conservation Area
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 300 species globally
Description
True velvet mites: You’ve probably seen these small, velvety, bright red mites creeping around on rocks, plant containers, tree trunks, or on the ground, especially after a rain. Be not afraid! They are harmless — to people.
Media
Female pigeon tremex resting on a concrete surface
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 28 species in North America
Description
Horntails look a lot like wasps but have a taillike spine that projects from the tip of the abdomen. Their cylindrical bodies also lack the narrow waist so common in wasps.
Media
Longhorn bee visiting a flower, viewed from side
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 1,000 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Many apid bees are well-known. This family includes the familiar honeybee, bumblebees, and carpenter bees, plus many that are less well-known. With few exceptions, most of Missouri's apid bees are native, solitary species.
Media
A darkling beetle, genus Asiopus, walking on a white-painted wall
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 1,200 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Darkling beetles are a very large family of beetles. Most are dull black or brown, crawl on the ground, and are scavengers. Many of them resemble what you might call a “base-model” beetle.
Media
A reddish centipede crawls over a rock
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hundreds of species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Centipedes are familiar to anyone who has overturned rocks and logs, sifted through leaf litter, or dug in the soil. Learn more about Missouri's members of class Chilopoda.
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.