Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 84 results
Media
Photo of a land snail crawling on a rock.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Approx. 150 species of land snails and slugs in Missouri
Description
Most people know land snails and slugs when they see these interesting animals. Missouri has about 150 species in 25 families.
Media
Chinese mantis
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tenodera sinensis (formerly T. aridifolia)
Description
The Chinese mantis is a large, green and tan ambush predator. This nonnative insect is often called a “praying mantis” because the front legs resemble hands folded in prayer.
Media
American dog tick crawling on a person's skin
Species Types
Scientific Name
Three common Missouri species
Description
Ticks drink the blood of humans and other mammals. Because they can carry serious, sometimes deadly diseases, it's important to learn about ticks and how to protect yourself from their bites.
Media
mosquito resting on a white fabric
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 50 species of mosquitoes in Missouri
Description
Mosquitoes are small flies that look a lot like their cousins in the fly family, the crane flies and midges. Female mosquitoes, however, drink blood from vertebrate animals.
Media
image of Paper Wasp on flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Polistes spp.
Description
Paper wasps are the most familiar of Missouri's social wasps. A late summer nest bristling with dozens of wasps can be an impressive sight. If you have a garden, however, these wasps are your friends.
Media
image of Sand Wasp perched on sand
Species Types
Scientific Name
More than 1,200 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Many species and genera of sand wasps occur in Missouri. They nest in the ground during summer. They are found in many habitats but most often in open, sandy areas along rivers.
Media
image of a boxelder bug
Species Types
Scientific Name
Boisea trivittata
Description
Notoriously numerous, boxelder bugs overwinter in nooks of tree bark and rocks, but they will settle for warm crannies of your house. The box elder tree is the food plant of this harmless insect.
Media
Squash bug on sand
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anasa tristis and other Anasa spp.
Description
Sooner or later, most Missouri gardeners learn about squash bugs, which feed on the foliage of squash, pumpkins, melons, cucumbers, and other plants in the squash family.
Media
Greenhouse camel cricket resting on a white-painted surface
Species Types
Scientific Name
About 150 species in North America north of Mexico
Description
Camel crickets and cave crickets are odd-looking, hump-backed insects that are commonly found in caves, basements, cellars, and similar places.
Media
Photo of eastern dobsonfly
Species Types
Scientific Name
Corydalus cornutus
Description
Adult eastern dobsonflies are huge and mothlike, with large wings and a weak, fluttery flight. The fiercely predaceous aquatic larvae, called hellgrammites, are well-known to anglers, who often use them as bait.
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.