Maria Sibylla Merian was one of the first naturalists to make careful observations of the metamorphosis of insects and amphibians, at a time when little was known about it. Her detailed illustrations were not only unusual in the 17th century but extraordinary. Her bold decision to set sail for Surinam in South America to record and draw unusual plants and animals culminated in the publication in 1705 of 'Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium', her magnum opus. Her delicate illustrations were brilliantly coloured, and her notes remarkable for their scientific detail, considering that she worked with only paint-brush and magnifying glass.
Jeyaraney Kathirithamby was a Rhodes Visiting Fellow and co-authored 'Greek Insects'(Duckworth) with her husband Malcolm Davies, and 'Maria Sibylla Merian, Artist, Scientist and Adventurer' (Getty) with Sarah Pomeroy