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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.
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.
All plants are harmless? Well, not quite - at least not when you're an insect...
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).
Mitochondrial genome convergences
Most likely, mitochondria have a single evolutionary origin, but that doesn't mean they are immune to convergence...
Dicyemids and chromidinids: enigmatic endoparasites
Dicyemids and chromidinids are tiny, worm-like or 'vermiform' creatures that typically live inside the kidneys ('renal organs') of cephalopod molluscs such as octopus, squid and cuttlefish.
Mimicry in fungi
Insects pollinating flowers are a familiar sight. But what happens when the "flower" is actually a fungus? Still "pollination", but now it is fungal spores. Read on to learn more about the fungi that mimic flowers...
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.
Mushrooms and their relatives (Basidiomycota)
Mushrooms are not only tasty, but also provide numerous examples of evolutionary convergence...
Examples of convergence within the dinoflagellates range from the evolution of a camera-like eye to stinging 'nematocysts' reminiscent of those in jellyfish.
Parthenogenesis in Australian lizards and insects
“Evidence on the origin and spread of the two best-studied cases of parthenogenesis from the Australian arid zone, the grasshopper Warramaba virgo and the gecko Heteronotia binoei, suggests that they evolved in parallel.” – Kearney et al. (2006) Molecular Ecology vol. 15, p.1743
Vision in echinoderms
Among brittlestars and sea urchins we find visual systems that in some ways rival the arthropods in the form of compound eye-like structures.
Camera-like eyes in arthropods
Arthropods are famous for their compound eyes, but some groups have had a fair crack at evolving the optically superior camera eye…
Strepsipterans: convergent halteres and eyes
Strepsipteran females spend their whole life inside a wasp. The males are rather more exciting, particularly in terms of convergence…
Agriculture: from ants to dugongs
Human farmers tending their fields are a familiar sight. But don't forget about those fungus-farming termites or the fish with a garden of algae…
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.
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.