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Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)

Branch of Pomegranate with Lanternfly and Cicada 1702-03

RCIN 921149

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The lantern fly takes its name from its large proboscis, which supposedly emits a bright light, and in the Metamorphosis Merian gave a vivid account of ‘a fiery flame’ strong enough to read by. Such a light has, however, never been scientifically recorded, and the function of the proboscis remains unknown.