When she returned from her two-year expedition to Surinam in South America from 1699 to 1701, Maria Sibylla Merian brought a large number of preserved animal specimens with her – not just insects, but also reptiles and amphibians. She was able to sell them – there was widespread interest among the collectors of such objects in Amsterdam –, but they also served her as models for gouache drawings, for example Obj. No. 1492 Z. Her daughters may also have collaborated on these drawings. The significance of the stars surrounding the pipefish has yet to be explained.