image catesbyrs vol290
Image number: RS.18834
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Beach hibiscus and Polyphemus moth




Mark Catesby (1683-1749, British), Naturalist

Object type

Library reference





Content object

   > plant
      > flower
   > animal
      > insect


Study of a beach hibiscus specimen, Hibiscus tiliaceus, referred to here as Ketmia, and a Polyphemus moth, Antheraea polyphemus, referred to as Phalaena fusca.

Written in the associated description: 'The under Part of the Body of the Moth is of a dusky white, encompassed by five brown Rings, the Ground Colour of all the Rings on the under Side is brown, and blended with innumerable waved Lines; near the Shoulder of each upper Wing is a black Spot, in Form of an Horsehoe, in the Curve of which is a white Spot [...]'

Plate 90 from volume II of Mark Catesby’s The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (London, 1731).

Mark Catesby (1683-1749), British naturalist was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1733. Travelling under the auspices of the Royal Society, Catesby recorded the earliest western scientific descriptions of the flora and fauna of the ‘New World’. He was the first naturalist to use folio-sized colour plates in a natural history book, and etched the copper plates himself before hand-colouring each individual print with watercolours.

Associated place

<The World>
   > North America
      > United States
<The World>
   > North America
      > Bahamas