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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…
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…
Vibrational communication in animals
What on earth could an elephant or treehoppers have in common with a seismometer?
Mushrooms and their relatives (Basidiomycota)
Mushrooms are not only tasty, but also provide numerous examples of evolutionary convergence...
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.
Saxitoxin synthesis: from molluscs to algae
Saxitoxin has a similar molecular structure to tetrodoxin and a wide distribution amongst living organisms, with evidence that is has been recruited independently several times.
Extremophiles: Archaea and Bacteria
Surely, no organism can survive in boiling water or brines nine times the salinity of seawater? Wrong - some archaea and bacteria have independently evolved adaptations to such extreme environments...
Corneal nipple arrays in insect eyes
Anti-reflection coating? Not only on mobile phone displays, but also on insect eyes...
Compound eyes in arthropods
It is clear that amongst the arthropods as a whole the compound eye has evolved at least twice, and possibly even more times.
Camera eyes in gastropod molluscs
The fast-moving cephalopod molluscs are famous for their camera eyes, but why on earth have gastropod snails, which are not exactly known for their speed, evolved this superb visual organ at least four times?
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.
Telephoto eyes in animals
Pursued by the paparazzi? Watch out for those animals equipped with telephoto lenses...
Spitting in spiders and velvet worms
Scytodid spiders forcibly eject a mixture of saliva, silk and venom in a glutinous mass over a distance of c. 1cm to entrap prey.
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.
Carbonic anhydrase in vertebrates, plants, algae and bacteria
Carbonic anhydrase is extremely convergent and may have evolved as many as six times. The most familiar variants are α, β and γ carbonic anhydrases.