This website aims to tell you nearly everything you need (and may ever want) to know about convergent evolution. It allows y ou to explore the way that similar adaptive solutions have repeatedly evolved from unrelated starting points on the tree of life, as though following a metaphorical ‘map’.

We have identified hundreds of examples of convergence, so if you want to learn about convergence in sex (e.g. love-darts), eyes (e.g. camera-eyes in jellyfish), agriculture (e.g. in ants) or gliding (e.g. in lizards and mammals) then this is your best port of call.

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Any of the information presented in the Map of Life may be freely reproduced, as long as it is acknowledged fully. Citation details can be found at the bottom of each Topic page.

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Showcase Topic: 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…

Spotlight on Research:

“Tree-climbing mangrove crabs: a case of convergent evolution”

S. Fratini, M. Vannini, S. Cannicci & C.D. Schubart 2005, Evolutionary Ecology Research, volume 7, pages 219-233. 

A life on trees offers a number of advantages, such as shelter, food or escape from predators. Some tree-climbing mangrove crabs share certain morphological characters, including specially adapted walking legs, which were thought to result from common ancestry. The molecular analysis presented in this paper, however, provides evidence that an arboreal lifestyle has evolved several times independently in these crabs.