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Snail eating: an asymmetric diet
Snails may not be everyone's first choice on the menu but several distinct colubrid snakes have evolved expert techniques for gorging on these nutritious gastropods.
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.
Malodorous flowering plants
Several groups of angiosperms have flower structures that produce foul odours to attract pollinating insects. This strategy is convergent, being found in species as distantly related as the 'Titan arum' Amorphophallus titanium (a monocot) and the 'Corpse flower' Rafflesia (a eudicot).
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…
Gliding lizards, frogs and ants
Tree-dwelling (‘arboreal’) ants capable of controlled gliding do so when dislodged or threatened by predation. Gliding species include members of three disparate families: Myrmicinae, Pseudomyrmecinae and Formicinae.
Gliding mammals rely primarily on extensive skin membranes or ‘patagia’ that stretch between fore- and hind-limbs, creating a wing-like structure.
In the reptiles, different forms of skin membrane (called ‘patagia’) and in some extinct species, primitive feathers, have evolved convergently as adaptations for gliding.
Woodpeckers and woodpecker-like birds and mammals
You think woodpeckers are unique? Consider the ovenbirds. Or even the curious aye-aye.