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Half height banner for Maria Merian exhibition, showing a butterfly
This exhibition is in the past. View our current exhibitions.

Branch of Sour Guava with Carolina Sphinx Moth


RCIN 921215

Alongside her depiction of the Carolina Sphinx Moth (Manduca sexta), Merian showed the hairy caterpillar of a Flannel Moth (Megalopygidae). This caterpillar is poisonous to touch, as Merian found out to her cost: ‘if one touches them with the hand, it swells up immediately and is very painful’. Visiting Suriname in 1805, Baron Albert von Sack (next) sought out one of these caterpillars to test her theory.

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