Field Guide

Land Invertebrates

Showing 1 - 10 of 133 results
Media
image of Xystodesmid Millipede crawling on a forest floor
Species Types
Scientific Name
8 tribes, with about 23 genera, in North America north of Mexico
Description
Millipedes in family Xystodesmidae often have bright colors that serve as a warning to potential predators that they may secrete foul or toxic substances.
Media
Photo of a robber fly, genus Ommatius, perched on a wall.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ommatius spp.
Description
Ommatius robber flies are medium-sized robber flies with distinctively branching antennae. There are about four of five species that might occur in Missouri.
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
Virginia flower fly resting on a concrete surface
Species Types
Scientific Name
Milesia virginiensis
Description
The yellowjacket hover fly, or Virginia flower fly, is a completely harmless mimic of yellowjackets. No more dangerous than a housefly, it buzzes around and seems aggressive.
Media
image of American Carrion Beetle
Species Types
Scientific Name
Necrophila americana
Description
The American carrion beetle has a yellow pronotum with a big black spot in the middle. Adults of this species of silphid beetle eat fly maggots, plus some carrion. In flight, they seem like bumblebees.
Media
Blue-winged scoliid wasp taking nectar on English ivy flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Scolia dubia
Description
The blue-winged wasp is a common Missouri species of scoliid wasp. The abdomen has a distinctive fuzzy, rich rusty patch with two ovals of yellow. Its larvae eat Japanese beetle grubs and other scarab beetle larvae.
Media
Citrus flatid planthopper on twig
Species Types
Scientific Name
Metcalfa pruinosa
Description
The citrus flatid planthopper has a waxy coating and can look gray or tan. It eats a wide variety of plants.
Media
Photo of a female openfield orbweaver spider crouching on a plant stalk
Species Types
Scientific Name
Araneus pratensis
Description
The openfield orbweaver is a common nocturnal orb-weaving spider in Missouri.
Media
Spiny assassin bug walking on a white napkin
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sinea spinipes
Description
The spiny assassin bug is one of nearly 200 species of assassin bugs in North America. It walks, hops, and flies to capture its insect prey.
Media
Photo of a meloe blister beetle, female, on ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Meloe spp.
Description
Blister beetles in the genus Meloe are called oil beetles because of a yellowish oil they excrete from their joints when squeezed or distressed. This oil contains cantharidin, an irritating chemical that can cause blistering in many people.
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.