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​Find past newsletter articles, press releases, and other media showcasing local agriculture, placed-based education, and conservation of natural resources in Sullivan County.

Mystery Pollinator

I'm in the garden enjoying the beauty of the flowers and I hear a buzzing sound getting closer. I look around to find out who's making that noise and notice the smallest hummingbird I have ever seen...or is it?

A closer or longer look is needed. This little hummer doesn't actually have any feathers, so it's not a bird after all. I take a few pictures and continue to watch this pretty little pollinator visit flower after flower.

When I get home, I take out my field guides and do my best to identify my mystery pollinator. I happen upon it in the insect section of my Guide to New England. It looks very much like a type of hummingbird moth called a snowberry clearwing.

Hummingbird moths are members of the sphinx moth family (Sphingidae), which have heavy bodies and long front wings. The wings of hummingbird moths are clear, with a black or brown border, and are nearly invisible when they fly. Males have a flared “tail” like that of a hovering hummingbird.

Unlike most sphinx moths, hummingbird moths fly in the daytime and drink nectar from plants as adults. The larva or caterpillars are green with a hornlike spike at the end and may be found eating the leaves of viburnums, honeysuckles, snowberry, blueberries, and members of the rose family.


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