Frogs and Toads of Missouri

Definitions Vomerine – a thin flat bone dividing the nostrils found in most vertebrates.  Paratoid/parotoid gland – a gland found on the neck, back, or shoulder of toads that secretes an alkaloid toxin that deters predators. It is also called bufotoxin and acts as a neurotoxin. Tibia – a strong bone in the leg of […]

Missouri Seeps and Springs

Missouri Springs Geology The majority of Missouri springs originate in the dolomitic rock mass that makes up the majority of the Ozarks (Vineyard et al, 1982). Dolomite, also referred to as dolostone, is a sedimentary rock with calcium magnesium carbonate (CaMg(CO3)2) as its primary constituent. Dolomite forms through the chemical alteration of limestone. As result, […]

Missouri’s Weather and Climate

Note: Safety tips will be underlined. Weather Given its inland location, Missouri is highly prone to temperature extremes (Decker, 2015). Missouri consequently deals with inclement weather quite regularly. Missouri is affected in some capacity by the following: Storms and Thunderstorms A storm is a disturbance in the weather, which can arise from local surface heating […]

Turtles of Missouri

Introduction: Turtles and tortoises form the oldest living group of reptiles on earth; fossil evidence suggests that turtles were alive during the Triassic Period, which was over 200 million years ago. They have evolved little since this time and remain well-adapted for a variety of different environments; in fact, turtles can be found on every […]


A guide to a certain grayish-brown American mammal with a foxlike face, black mask, and ringed tail.


A guide to this medium-sized, moderately fast growing, aromatic tree with three distinctive leaf shapes.

Creek Chub

A guide to this small minnow, also called the common creek chub, found in the eastern United States and Canada.

Southern Red-backed Salamander

A guide to the identification, distinguishing traits, life history, and distribution of this small woodland salamander.

Dark Eyed Junco

A guide to these small sparrows that flit about Western forest floors and flood the rest of North America in winter.

Common Grasses of Missouri

A guide to a few of the most common species of grass found in Missouri, including a printable identification card.

Invasive Species of Missouri

A guide for identifying invasive and potentially harmful species throughout Missouri.

The Stars that Guide Us

A guide to stargazing, navigation, visible meteorological events, light pollution, and star legends.

Geology of Missouri

A guide to the geologic history and structures of Missouri, including folds, joints, and faults.

Venomous Snakes of Missouri

If a Missouri snake is venomous: It is in the pit viper family – it will have a distinguishable pit between each eye and nostril. These pits, sometimes referred to as loreal pits or fossa, are used as infrared-detecting organs, allowing the viper to sense its prey. Its pupils will be vertical slits. It will […]

Carnivora of Missouri

Missouri is home to 13 species of carnivore ranging from the tiny least weasel, weighing a mere 2 ounces, to the 240 pound black bear (Hunter 2011, Reid 2006). Carnivore in the scientific sense of the word refers not simply to a species that eats meat, but to a species belonging to the order Carnivora. Species that fall […]


Suborder: Myomorpha (mice, rats, gerbils, jerboas, and relatives): Superfamily Dipodoidea: Family Dipodidae (birch mice, jerboas, and jumping mice): Genus: Zapus Meadow jumping mouse – Z. hudsonius ​Superfamily Muroidea: Nearly every species of myomorpha within Missouri fall under the superfamily Muroidea. Members can be found on every continent except Antarctica, and they live in a wide […]


Suborder: Castorimorpha (beavers, gophers, kangaroo rats, pocket mice, and relatives): Family Castoridae (beavers): Genus: Castor North American beaver – C. canadensis North America’s largest rodent. Beavers are semiaquatic (Reid 179). Homes are made along lakes, rivers, streams, sometimes ponds, and even swamps. Well known for making dams, beavers will typically do this in lakes and […]


Suborder: Hystricomorpha (hystricognath rodents): Family Myocastoridae (coypus): Genus: Myocastor Coypu – M. Coypus Native to South America, the Coypu has been introduced to both North America and Europe where the animal is commonly known as the Nutria. They resemble muskrats, however Nutria are significantly larger weighing anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds. A surefire way […]

Black Bears in Missouri

Habitats, attributes, behavioral patterns, history, and ancestry of Missouri black bears, along with a tracking guide.

Common Trees of Missouri

Examples and descriptions of common Missouri trees from each family, along with a guide to leaf identification.

Edibles of Missouri

Identification and advice about four of the most common wild, edible plants of Missouri.

Raptors of Missouri

Background knowledge necessary for learning the raptors of Missouri.

Glycoside Plants of Missouri

Here’s how to identify seventeen poisonous Missouri plant species that contain glycoside.

Semi-Aquatic Snakes of Missouri

A guide to the eight common semi-aquatic snakes found in Missouri, of which only one is venomous.

Spiders of Missouri

A brief introduction to spiders of Missouri

Semi-Aquatic Mammals in Missouri

General Information: As the name suggests, semi-aquatic mammals refers to any mammal which spends part of its time on land and part in the water. These mammals hunt for at least part of their food in water. Due to the large amount of time they spend in bodies of water, they have specific adaptations to […]

Mushrooms of Missouri

This guide will give you a fundamental understanding of how Mushrooms are structured and where to begin if you are interested in foraging for or classifying mushrooms!

Nuts of Missouri

A complete guide to nuts of Missouri

Cicadas of Missouri

Introduction Natural ambient noise is like a hidden choir, the backing noise to every experience in the great outdoors. The percussion of water droplets hitting leaves, the chirping of birds, the howl of wind, and of course the drone and rhythm of the insect community are integral to our sense of place in the wilderness. […]

Oaks of Missouri

A General Guide to the Various Oaks Growing in Missouri