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Topics about "behaviour" include:

  1. Sleep in animals
    Suffering from insomnia? Fruit flies do as well...

  2. Thanatosis (feigning death) in spiders and insects
    Beetles that "play possum"? A rather interesting example of convergence…

Topics containing the search term "behaviour" are:

  1. Why emit light? The many functions of bioluminescence
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  2. Bioluminescence
    Flying through the air on a summer's evening or sparkling in the ocean you may see magical flashes of light that signal some of nature's most enchanting creatures, those that are bioluminescent.

  3. Vibrational communication in mammals
    Kangaroo rats drum their foot on the ground upon encountering a snake. Why? Read on for this and many other fascinating examples of vibrational communication in mammals…

  4. Vibrational communication in insects and spiders
    Some spiders have evolved a most remarkable method of capturing other spiders – they imitate the vibrations of insects caught in their victim’s web. And this is only one of numerous intriguing examples of vibrational communication in arthropods…

  5. 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.

  6. Foregut fermentation in mammals
    Foregut fermentation is best known from the ruminants, such as cattle, deer and giraffes, that regurgitate and rechew their food to aid microbial digestion. However, they are not the only mammals to have evolved this digestive strategy...

  7. Foregut fermentation in birds
    A foregut-fermenting bird was long considered a paradox. But what about the hoatzin, a curious South American bird known locally as the "stinking pheasant" thanks to its smell of fresh cow manure?

  8. Monochromacy in mammals
    Underwater environments are dominated by blue light. Ironically, whales and seals cannot see blue, because they have independently lost their short-wavelength opsins.

  9. Brood parasitism in cuckoos and other birds
    Obligate brood parasitism has evolved several times independently in birds. Apart from the cuckoos, it can be found in four other, only distantly related families.

  10. Agriculture in marine polychaete annelids
    Some polychaetes attach pieces of algae to their dwelling tube. Just for decoration? No, but for a much more substantial (and convergent) benefit...

  11. Agriculture in beetles
    Think of weevils and most likely you'll think of spoiled food. But some weevils have turned to farming...

  12. Agriculture in aquatic snails
    Termites and ants are famous for tending fungal gardens, but did you know that also a marine snail farms a fungus? And this is not the only example of agriculture in this group…

  13. Cichlids
    Cichlids are one of the cause celebré of evolution, and rightly so because these freshwater fish show a remarkable diversity and exemplify many key aspects of adaptive radiation. But why so successful? The answer lies in the versatility of the jaws (and yes, they are convergent).

  14. Vibrational communication in animals
    What on earth could an elephant or treehoppers have in common with a seismometer?

  15. Lateral line system in fish and other animals
    Some cavefish are completely blind, so how do they manage to navigate through their environment with astonishing ease?

  16. 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...

  17. “Broken jaw” – mandibular and maxillary jaw joints
    At first sight having a jaw with a joint seems a contradiction in terms, but such exist and not only are obviously functional, but needless to say convergent.

  18. Explosive discharge in fungi and plants
    The very rapid release of reproductive bodies is perhaps most famous in the fungi, where several methods of flinging spores at high velocity have evolved independently.

  19. Hummingbirds, sunbirds and honeyeaters
    One of the most well known examples of convergence among birds is between hummingbirds, sunbirds and honeyeaters, all of which are small, dominantly nectar-feeding birds.

  20. Suction feeding in fish, amphibians, reptiles and aquatic mammals
    Probably everyone is familiar with the walrus, but did you know that it generates a vacuum in its mouth to suck clams out of their shells? And this is just one example of suction feeding, the feeding mode typically used by bony fish…

  21. Tetrodotoxin
    Not many foods served in a restaurant can kill you, but pufferfish is the exception. Tetrodotoxin, the toxin responsible for such culinary fatalities, reveals a fascinating story of convergent evolution...

  22. 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.

  23. Crabs: insights into convergence
    You might think of crabs mainly as food, but this group is also highly instructive in terms of convergence…

  24. Echolocation in toothed whales and ground-dwelling mammals
    Given the extraordinary powers of echolocation in bats, it is not surprising that this group has received the most attention. However, they are not the only mammals to have evolved echolocation. Who invented sonar millions of years before the Navy?

  25. Thanatosis (feigning death) in spiders and insects
    Beetles that "play possum"? A rather interesting example of convergence…

  26. Nuptial gifts in insects and spiders
    Male dance flies lure females with a dead insect. Not very romantic, you might think, but it certainly does the trick. Hence, such nuptial gifts have evolved in numerous other arthropods...

  27. Durophagy (hard prey-eating) in fish
    Plenty of animals have an extraordinary capacity to crush hard prey and this has evolved independently many times in the vertebrates. If you suspect it is a durophage, watch your fingers!

  28. 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.

  29. Gliding in feathered reptiles
    A number of reptile species have been discovered in the Mesozoic fossil record, bearing feathers that were apparently used to support gliding locomotion, rather than true, powered flight as we see in present day birds.

  30. Gliding in Draco lizards and tree snakes
    “The agamid lizard genus Draco (consisting of the so-called ‘flying dragons’) exhibits an array of morphological traits associated with gliding.” – A.P. Russell & L.D. Dijkstra (2001) Journal of the Zoological Society of London, vol. 253, page 457

  31. Gliding mammals
    Gliding mammals rely primarily on extensive skin membranes or ‘patagia’ that stretch between fore- and hind-limbs, creating a wing-like structure.

  32. Gliding reptiles
    In the reptiles, different forms of skin membrane (called ‘patagia’) and in some extinct species, primitive feathers, have evolved convergently as adaptations for gliding.

  33. Sand-dwelling (psammophilous) lizard ecomorphs
    Desert sand dunes represent an extreme environmental setting in which selective forces have apparently generated dune ‘ecomorphs’ in six lizard families. – Lamb et al. (2003) Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, vol. 73, p. 253

  34. Drinking adaptations in desert lizards
    Both Moloch horridus and [...] Phrynosoma cornutum have the remarkable ability to transport water over their skin’s surface to the mouth where drinking occurs. Sherbrooke et al. (2007) Zoomorphology, vol. 126, p. 89

  35. Anolis lizard ecomorphs
    “A classic example of convergent evolution is the set of Anolis lizard ecomorphs of the Greater Antilles.” – Langerhans, Knouft & Losos (2006) Evolution, vol. 6, p.362

  36. Trichromatic vision in mammals
    Who has not enjoyed the splash of colour in a market: gorgeous red peppers, the green of basil and what on earth are these purple vegetables over there? All thanks to trichromatic vision, another story of convergence.

  37. Venom in mammals (and other synapsids)
    Beware the venomous shrew! Yes, venomous. And convergent on some formidable lizards...

  38. Infrared detection in snakes
    Warm-blooded rodents watch out! There are heat-sensing predators on the prowl...

  39. Infrared detection in animals
    Some snakes are famous for 'seeing' infrared, but did you know that their heat-sensing abilities are rivalled by some beetles that can detect forest fires over considerable distances?

  40. Loss of olfactory capacity in primates and cetaceans
    It is widely thought that reduced olfactory capacity in apes is linked to the development of acute vision, especially trichromacy.

  41. Lipocalins for milk and pheromone transport
    Lipocalins are proteins that bind to and transport small hydrophobic molecules such as lipids and steroids, and have been associated with biological processes such as milk production, pheromone transport and immune responses.

  42. Scanning eyes in molluscs and arthropods
    Some sea snails have a linear retina. What a hopeless arrangement, to see the world through just a narrow slit! Not quite, because they have come up with a rather intriguing trick to extend their visual field - and it's a trick too good to use only once.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. Intelligence and cognition in birds
    House sparrows are known to gain access to shopping malls by flying in front of sensors that operate sliding doors, whilst herons have been shown to be adept fishers using baits and lures.

  46. Gut fermentation in herbivorous animals
    Ever tried eating a newspaper? Don't. Plant cell walls contain cellulose, which is notoriously difficult to digest. Considering that all vertebrates lack the enzymes to attack this polysaccharide, how do so many of them manage to survive on a plant diet?

  47. Tool use in birds
    What animals can drop stones into a water-filled tube to bring floating food within reach or bend wire to form a hook? Obviously chimpanzees? No, New Caledonian crows have evolved sophisticated tool use too.

  48. Electric fish: insights into convergence
    Ever seen an electric eel in an aquarium? Don’t dare putting your hand in the tank...

  49. Dolphin communication, cognition and sociality
    Dolphins are one of the most intriguing sources of evolutionary convergence, having cognitive abilities that seem to find many parallels in the great apes, and rather remarkably even extend to tool use.

  50. Sleep in animals
    Suffering from insomnia? Fruit flies do as well...

  51. Beetles: insights into convergence
    The beetles are probably the most diverse animal group on earth, so it is not at all surprising that they provide many fascinating insights into convergence.

  52. Agriculture in ants: leaf-cutters (attines) and non-attines
    In some species, special squads leave the nest early each day, ascend the tree-trunks and then spend hours cutting out pieces of leaf that are dropped to other units on the ground.

  53. Woodpeckers and woodpecker-like birds and mammals
    You think woodpeckers are unique? Consider the ovenbirds. Or even the curious aye-aye.

  54. Ants: insights into convergence
    Trap-jaws, silk and agriculture – just a few examples of convergence in the arguably most successful group of insects, the ants…

  55. Crustaceans: insights into convergence
    Whilst predominantly marine, quite a number of crustaceans have invaded freshwater habitats and even more interestingly a few demonstrate terrestrialization, effectively freeing themselves from their aquatic ancestry.

  56. Transparent tissues: eyes, bodies and reflective surfaces
    Read on if you want to know about the numerous animal equivalents to the invisible man...

  57. Love darts in slugs, snails and annelid worms
    The curious habit of stabbing their partners with sharp calcareous (or chitinous) darts during courtship and prior to actual copulation has understandably attracted considerable attention.

  58. Worm-like body form
    Man is but a worm, but so are many other vertebrates...

  59. Electroreception in fish, amphibians and monotremes
    From an evolutionary point of view, electroreception is particularly intriguing as a sense modality that has been repeatedly lost and reinvented again.

  60. Camera eyes of cephalopods
    The remarkable similarity between the camera eyes of cephalopods and vertebrates is one of the best-known examples of evolutionary convergence.

  61. Octopus and other cephalopods: convergence with vertebrates
    What could be more different from us than the alien-like octopus? Hold on. Look it in the eye and think again.

  62. Camera eyes in vertebrates, cephalopods and other animals
    Camera eyes are superb optical devices, so it is not surprising that they have evolved several times. But why, of all animals, in the brainless jellyfish? Or for that matter in a slow-moving snail?