The Night Shift: Night Time Pollinators

Even though some moths are active during the day, moths have an important job to do as night time pollinators. Moths often pollinate plants that other pollinators ignore. They are known pollinators of evening primrose, night blooming jasmine, and honeysuckle.

Globally, there are more species of moths (160,000) than there are of butterflies (17,500 species) according to the Smithsonian Institution. Even in New Jersey, moths rule with 1,500 species compared to 150 species of butterflies! Some species of moths are so colorful that they are often mistaken for butterflies.

Did you know that inchworms are the caterpillars of the Geometer moth? The moths lay their eggs on foxglove, primrose, and thyme plants. In late June and July, the inchworms dangle on silken-threads from tree branches traveling to the soil and leaf litter where they will spin their cocoons.


Listen to Leo Lionni’s Inch by Inch told by Jeffrey Woodrow.

Download a moth coloring book and get creative! For some ideas on how to color your moths, visit

Once you’ve colored your moths, take the project one step further and make a moth habitat.

Hear a story about pollinators, Flowers Are Calling, by Rita Gray.

Topic: Nature
Age / Level: Primary, Elementary

The Night Shift: Night Time Pollinators Videos