On April 2nd, Google is celebrating naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian with a beautiful Doodle featuring various forms of small wildlife caterpillars, chrysalises, moths, butterflies and a green iguana in conjunction with the specific plants upon which they feed.
Maria was born on 2 April in 1647 in Frankfurt. She was encouraged by her stepfather, a still life painter whom her mother married after the death of her father, to draw and paint from an early age.
She became a flower-painter and teacher and, at the age of 52, made an expedition to what is now Suriname after she was inspired by exotic specimens imported from the Dutch colonies for the natural history collections of the Netherlands.
During her time in South America, she traveled around the Dutch colony, sketching local animals and plants but also criticizing the treatment of indigenous people and black slaves by Dutch planters.
Returning to Amsterdam two years later, she began work on a lavishly illustrated book, the Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium (The Metamorphoses of the Insects of Suriname) which depicted the life cycles of insects she had studied. It was published in 1705, 10 years before she suffered a stroke and was partially paralyzed. She died two years later in Amsterdam on January 13 1717. She was 69. Her daughter published a collection of her work.