Maria Sibylla Merian – butterfly/insect illustrator Google doodle today celebrates the 366th birth anniversary of German naturalist and scientific illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian. Merian was well known for studying as well as making detailed paintings of plants and insects. She is credited of making significant, though not well known, contributions to the field of entomology due to her observation of metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

Merian was born on April 2, 1647 in Frankfurt and began painting images of insects and plants at the age of 13, with encouragement from her stepfather. Married at the age of 15, she began giving painting lessons to wealthy women, which got her access to well-maintained gardens of the elite. In these gardens, she began observing insects, including the caterpillars and butterflies.

Neues Blumenbuch, the first book by Merian, was released in three parts between 1675 and 1680. Later, she studied the lifecycle of a butterfly and released the book with sketches and illustrations of various species and the plants they feed on.

Merian had two daughters and was divorced in 1692. After her divorce, she continued to work with many contemporary scientists of the time.

The doodle by Google shows butterfly, caterpillars, cocoon, reptiles and insects that are painted on vines that create the company’s logo.