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Eels masquerading as snakes sounds interesting, and that is before they go hunting with their friends the groupers...
Electrolocation and electrocommunication in weakly electric fish
Fish have eyes, but they live in a much more complex sensory world, where even electricity plays a surprising - and convergent - role.
All plants are harmless? Well, not quite - at least not when you're an insect...
Reversion from xylem vessels to tracheids
In three plant taxa that evolved in environments with frequent freeze-thaw cycles (Winteraceae, Trochodendraceae and cold desert Ephedra), vessel evolution has been reversed independently in favour of a return to a tracheid-based vascular system.
Xylem vessels in vascular plants
Vessels are characteristic of the angiosperms, and yet they have evolved independently in several other groups, including the lycophyte Selaginella, horse-tail Equisetum and the enigmatic Gnetales.
Pufferfish (and inflation)
Pufferfish are some of the most extraordinary fish to have evolved, especially because of their capacity to swallow water and inflate themselves to something like a football. Not only that but some representatives can be deadly to the unwary diner...
Desert plants with succulent leaves
Perhaps the most striking case of convergence among leaf succulents occurs between Agave and its relatives Yucca and Hesperaloe in the Americas and Aloe and its relatives (e.g. Haworthia and Gasteria) in Africa.
Succulent desert plants
Classic examples of convergence in desert plants include the so-called 'stem succulent' cacti in the Americas and cactus-like Euphorbia species in Africa and South Asia, and also the striking similarity between 'leaf succulent' Agave and Yucca of the Americas and Aloe and its close relatives in Africa.
Feeding in snakes and lizards
The Turtle-headed sea snake feeds on small eggs and its feeding shows intriguing similarities to the way lizards forage, and herbivorous mammals graze and browse.
Crabs: insights into convergence
You might think of crabs mainly as food, but this group is also highly instructive in terms of convergence…
Pharyngeal jaws in teleost fish
One of the great evolutionary breakthroughs in the teleost fish was the conversion of some of the elements that supported the gill bars into a second set of pharyngeal teeth that complemented the oral teeth. See how a fish becomes a snake!
Corneal nipple arrays in insect eyes
Anti-reflection coating? Not only on mobile phone displays, but also on insect eyes...
Silk production and use in arthropods
Remarkably, fossil silk is known, especially from amber of Cretaceous age. Material includes both silk with trapped insects, possibly from an orb-web, and strands with the characteristic viscid droplets that are the key in trapping prey.
Biological uses of silk: from webs to ballooning
What material is so versatile that it can be used for capturing prey, building nests, communication and even cleaning? The answer: that most remarkable of biomaterials - silk.
Birds: insights into convergence
Intriguing ecological and morphological parallels can be found among the Neoaves. Many of these forms were initially believed to be each other's closest relatives, but are now widely recognised as classic examples of convergence. Think how similar swifts and swallows are, but they are only distantly related.
Carbonic anhydrase in vertebrates, plants, algae and bacteria
Carbonic anhydrase is extremely convergent and may have evolved as many as six times. The most familiar variants are α, β and γ carbonic anhydrases.
Electric fish: insights into convergence
Ever seen an electric eel in an aquarium? Don’t dare putting your hand in the tank...
Swimming and thermoregulation in sharks and tuna
Thunniform swimming depends on a large, lunate tail that is joined to the rest of the body via a narrow peduncle. Whilst the tail flicks backwards and forwards, so propelling the animal, the rest of the body hardly moves sideways.
Transparent tissues: eyes, bodies and reflective surfaces
Read on if you want to know about the numerous animal equivalents to the invisible man...
Worm-like body form
Man is but a worm, but so are many other vertebrates...
Burrowing: from worms to vertebrates
Quite a few adaptations are useful for burrowing into the soil. So it is not exactly surprising that they have evolved several times...
Octopus arm function
If you want to see a truly remarkable example of convergence, then present an octopus with a piece of food and have a high-speed camera ready…