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Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)

Coffee Senna with Split-Banded Owlet Butterfly


RCIN 921188

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Merian’s legacy is found not only in her influence on natural history illustration.  A number of species have been named after her, among them a large tegu lizard, Salvator merianae, and a European orb-weaver spider, Metellina merianae. The German entomologist Hans Stichel was among those inspired by Merian’s work. He gave this Split-Banded Owlet Butterfly the scientific name Opsiphanes cassina merianae in 1902, two hundred and two years after Merian, on 4 June 1700, had first watched the species emerge from its chrysalis in her Suriname garden.