Plate 23

Bananas and Blue Lizard, 1705-1771

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The owl butterfly, Caligo teucer (Linnaeus), is shown in flight and resting on a kind of banana. Merian recorded, "Both its upper wings are a light ochre color, the other two are a beautiful blue." The identification of the lizard has been the subject of some debate among naturalists; it is now generally believed to be a member of the Cnemidophorus lemniscatus species complex. Merian said that she included the lizard in this watercolor as "decoration." She fondly recalled that it had "built its nest in the floor of my house; in this nest lay four eggs, white and round, like the three to be seen on the stalk. I brought them back with me in the ship to Holland and while we were at sea the baby lizards crawled out of the eggs, as small as the one to be seen on the stalk."

Bananas and Blue Lizard
Artist Life
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
Nissen: 1342; Cat. Ger. Nat'l Museum, 1967
Curator Approved

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Plate 23