Maria Merian was born in Germany in 1647. She began collecting caterpillars when she was 13, and later painted them in various stages of their life cycle. Her patient observations and detailed paintings provided the first evidence of the process of metamorphosis (when a caterpillar enters a cocoon and emerges as a butterfly). Maria was the mother of two small children, and bore all of the responsibility of caring for them and managing her home, whilst remaining dedicated to her work. She also taught painting as a means of supporting herself and her children. You can read a longer article about Maria Merian here .