Episode Six: Bugs and Stuff

Maria Sibylla Merian was a 17th century middle class woman who studied bugs (and stuff) at a time when butterflies were considered demonic creatures and beetles were believed to spontaneously appear from the ground. Her fascination with bugs began at an early age (she had her very own silkworm farm at age 13!) and would be the subject of her painting, writing, and lifelong studies.

If a proper young lady being interested in hell bugs doesn't catch your attention, stay for the dirt on her stint in a 17th century hippie commune and her unchaperoned (GASP) transatlantic travels!

Joining us on this episode are Cari and Caitlin of the Bugs and Stuff podcast!

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Show Notes, References, and Further Reading

Cari Ritzenthaler and Caitlin Maloney

Bugs & Stuff: soundcloud / website / twitter / facebook

Maria Sibylla Merian


The Maria Sibylla Merian Society.

Maria Sibylla Merian Conference 2017.

Metamorphosis insectorium Suriname animation.

This 17th Century Scientific Illustrator Loved Butterflies Before It Was Cool. 2015. Priscilla Frank. Huffington Post.

A 17th-Century Woman Artist’s Butterfly Journey. 2015. Allison Meier. Hyperallergic.

A Pioneering Woman of Science Re-Emerges After 300 Years. 2017. Joanna Klein. New York Times.

Peer Reviewed Articles

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) as a botanical artist.  1982. W. T. Stearn. Taxon, 529-534.

Maria Sibylla Merian: Recovering an Eighteenth-Century Legend. 1993. Sharon Valiant. Eighteenth-Century Studies26(3), pp.467-479.

Feminist History of Colonial Science. 2004. Linda Schiebinger. Hypatia, 19(1), 233-254.

Maria Sibylla Merian and the metamorphosis of natural history. 2011. Kay Etheridge. Endeavour35(1), pp.16-22.

The Biology of Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium. 2016. Kay Etheridge.


A Butterfly Journey: Maria Sibylla Merian. 2015. Boris Friedewal. Prestel.

Insects and Flowers: The Art of Maria Sibylla Merian. 2008. David Brafman, Stephanie Schrader. Getty Publications.

Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis. 2007 Kim Todd