Butterflies and Plants

Outside of the Exhibition Butterflies and Plants at the National Museum of Natural History, visitors can find the 5-feet wide monarch butterflies I illustrated mounted in three-dimensional wire structures that capture everyone’s attention. Two animations were also developed to this exhibition’s website, in collaboration with Redmon Group Inc. – one portraying the Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes), the other about the relationship between the hawk moth Xanthopan morganii and the orchid Angraecum sesquipedale.
The hawk moth is usually referred to as Charles Darwin’s predicted moth. It was upon studying a Madagascar species of orchid, A. sesquipedale, whose flowers display one-foot long nectary spurs, that the naturalist surmised that there needed to be a pollinator moth with a proboscis long enough to reach the nectar at the end of the spur. Such insect had never been described but in fact, its existence was confirmed around 40 years later. Its biology continues to be poorly known given its nocturnal living and exclusive presence in Madagascar, but its story became a classic example of coevolution between animals and plants.
An illustration of this same subject was commissioned to be at exhibition Darwin’s Evolution at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon and it was on display at the Member Exhibition of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators at the Acadian Archives, Fort Kent, ME.

Media: digital
Client: Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History – Butterflies and Plants: partners in evolution