Meet the Picasso Moth: Mother Nature’s Insect That Looks Like a Work of Abstract Art

Meet the Picasso Moth, an Artful Insect

The Picasso Moth, known scientifically as Baorisa hieroglyphica. (Photo: Notafly via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED)

Many people think of insects as icky, and moths particularly as the rather dull cousins of more flashy butterflies. But moths, which are much more common than butterflies with over 160,000 documented species, are far from boring and dull. They come in beautiful varieties, including the iridescent glamour of the Diva Moth, the thick fur of the Fuzzy Bunny Moth, and the Sesame-street-ready Rosy Maple Moth. But winning the award for best modern art moth is definitely the Picasso Moth, known scientifically as Baorisa hieroglyphica. Known for its colorful, abstract designs on its wings, the moth is an example of one of nature's masterpieces.

The Picasso Moth lives in Northern India and Southeast Asia. Dubbed one of “the world's most interesting insects” by Smithsonian Magazine, its wingspan stretches about 2 inches. These white wings are nature's canvas. Two streaks of yellow, two dots of coral, and lines that look just like streaks of black paint complete their look. The colors are reminiscent of a Mondrian painting, and the dashing modern style reminds the viewer of Joan Miró or Vassily Kandinsky. However, the moth has been colloquially named for Pablo Picasso due to his fame, colorful works, and position within the canon of Modern Art.

The moth was catalogued in 1882 by Frederic Moore, a British etymologist and talented artist. The moth is nocturnal and feeds on fruit nectar. Its scientific name hieroglyphica derives from hieroglyphs, the Egyptian system of writing which the design alludes to. Yet the Picasso Moth is not the only insect whose common name honors the artist: the Picasso Bug is equally abstract and artful. Insects themselves have often been subjects of art, and have even made up the materials of paintings, pigments, and sculptures. As much as mankind may wish to ignore or even rid themselves of insects, they play a vital—and as the Picasso Moth proves, beautiful—role in our world.

Nature is an incredible artist, and the Picasso Moth, also known as Baorisa hieroglyphica is her masterpiece.

The moth is an abstract painter's dream, modern and colorful.

h/t: [Oddity Central]

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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