Browse the Map of Life

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Category Short description
Agriculture (15) Cultivating crops, often as monocultures, weeding, applying fertilizer and if necessary herbicides…→
Amphibians (20) The name ‘amphibian’ refers to the two-stage life cycles of all these animals,…→
Anatomy (111) In some ways, animals are like machines, with skeletons, pumps, lungs, blood systems and yes,…→
Annelid worms (14) The Annelida (from Latin "annellus", meaning little ring) are a large animal phylum comprising…→
Arthropods: Insects (89) Arthropods are the most diverse and abundant organisms on Earth, and comprise an estimated 90% of…→
Arthropods: other than Insects (45) Arthropods are the most diverse and abundant organisms on Earth, and comprise an estimated 90% of…→
Bacteria (30) Bacteria are single celled micro-organisms of astonishing diversity and abundance that first…→
Behaviour (52) All organisms show behaviour to a certain extent. In animals, behavioural responses are often…→
Biochemistry (52) The vital processes that occur in every living cell depend on chemical interactions between…→
Birds (52) With around 10,000 living species, the birds are the largest class of tetrapod vertebrates. They…→
Brachiopods (10) Brachiopods are benthic marine invertebrates with a pair of shells or 'valves' and a tentacular…→
Brains & Intelligence (26) The animal central nervous system is believed to have a single origin, i.e. to be monophyletic.…→
Bryozoans (6) The phylum Bryozoa (also known as Ectoprocta) is a group of tiny, colonial, primarily marine…→
Cnidarians (15) Cnidarians are simple, aquatic multi-cellular animals ('metazoans') with a body made of only two…→
Colouration (12) Nature often comes in bright colours - think of the vibrant plumage displayed by male birds, the…→
Communication (19) Communication refers to the transmission of information, and it is unsurprisingly ubiquitous…→
Culture & Tool Use (13) Culture is not an exclusively human phenomenon. Other animal societies have also evolved culture -…→
Defence (33) Defending yourself is absolutely crucial when you are an animal preyed upon by a predator or a…→
Dicyemids (Mesozoans) (1) Dicyemids are millimetric, worm-like ('vermiform') animals that are endoparasitic, typically…→
Echinoderms (6) The phylum Echinodermata comprises a diverse group of marine invertebrates that are almost all…→
Ecology (28) Ecology, derived from the Greek word "oikos" (meaning home) is the scientific study of the…→
Ecomorphs (22) Ecomorphs (or "ecological morphotypes") represent classic and particularly straightforward examples…→
Enzymes (16) Enzymes are proteins that function as biocatalysts. They accelerate biochemical reactions, often…→
Eyes & other Visual Systems (44) The eye, so central to human existence, expression and emotion, is one of the main Darwinian…→
Feeding (68) Feeding is, of course, crucial for all heterotrophic organisms, which cannot derive their energy…→
Fish (45) Fish are the largest vertebrate group with more than 30,000 species. They show an amazing…→
Fungi & Lichens (27) Fungi exist as single celled yeasts or multicellular structures made of filamentous tubes or…→
Health & Medicine (12) Convergence is apparent in various situations where organisms have evolved to deal with dangerous…→
Locomotion (25) Many features of animal locomotion, from burrowing to gliding, show clear evidence of convergence.…→
Mammals (89) Mammals are probably the best-known animal group, maybe partly so because we belong to them.…→
Metabolism (20) Metabolism refers to the many chemical reactions that take place in living organisms to fuel the…→
Mimicry (12) Mimicry is employed for numerous reasons, and in many ways is the most obvious example of…→
Molecular Biology (47) The paths of evolutionary change at the molecular level frequently result in convergent solutions.…→
Molluscs: Cephalopods (39) The Cephalopoda are a group of molluscs characterised by large heads, muscular tentacles…→
Molluscs: other than Cephalopods (24) Molluscs comprise a phylum of invertebrates that inhabit mainly marine but also freshwater and…→
Nematode worms (6) Nematodes or roundworms are one of the most numerous animal groups. In just a handful of soil, one…→
Parasitism (12) Upon hearing the word parasite, most people probably think of rather nasty creatures, such as the…→
Photosynthesis (9) Many examples of convergence relating to photosynthesis exist, from patterns of plastid gene…→
Physiology (66) Physiology refers to how living systems function from molecules to cells, tissues, organs and whole…→
Plants & Algae (59) "Algae" is a general term that refers to an extremely diverse group of photosynthetic organisms,…→
Proteins (37) Proteins are amino acid polymers with myriad roles in creating and maintaining cell shape and…→
Protistans (17) Protistans are a remarkably diverse group of single-celled organisms, all of which are eukaryotic…→
Reptiles (70) Traditionally, reptiles are taken to be a paraphyletic group, i.e. a group that does not include…→
Respiration (10) The process of respiration is absolutely essential for life and for the most part we think of…→
Rotifers (3) The phylum Rotifera contains more than 2000 species. Rotifers are a group of microscopic…→
Senses (47) An organism's senses connect it to the outside world and are essential in allowing it to react…→
Sex & Reproduction (42) Reproduction is the most crucial aspect of an organism's life as it ensures that its genes are…→
Sociality (21) Many organisms show some form of social behaviour or cooperative activity, ranging from simple…→
Sponges (5) The sessile sponges, which had appeared by the Early Cambrian (and possibly substantially earlier),…→
Symbiosis & Endosymbiosis (23) A symbiosis, derived from the Greek words "syn" (meaning with) and "biosis" (meaning living), is an…→
Teeth (22) Teeth are essential for many animals, as they are used to break down food (and sometimes for other…→
Tunicates (Urochordata) (7) The tunicates (or sea squirts) are a diverse marine group with more than 2000 living species.…→
Viruses (1) Even viruses can provide insights into convergence - in fact, the extent of viral convergence is…→
Vocalization & Song (9) Vocalization (a form of animal communication that involves the vocal cords or equivalent such as…→

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