Plate 60

Blue Butterflies and Red Larva, Blue Spines, c. 1705-1717

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In January 1701 Merian wrote, "I set out into the forest to see if I could discover anything; I found this elegant red blossom on a tree; neither the name nor the properties of this tree are known to the inhabitants of this country." The butterfly is Caligo idomeneus (Linneaus), called an Owl Butterfly, because the large eye-spots on the undersides of the wings resembles the head of an owl when the wings are open. The larva illustrated is not that of an owl butterfly, but an unidentified species of silk moth. Merian also included a wasp, noting that wasps "are found everywhere in Suriname, even in the houses and in the fields…[They] sting any man or animal which comes near them and disturbs their activities."

Blue Butterflies and Red Larva, Blue Spines
Artist Life
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
Nissen: 1342; Cat. Ger. Nat'l Museum, 1967
Curator Approved

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Plate 60