Convergent evolution


I am by no means a lepidopterist (someone who studies moths and butterflies), but this stunning moth caught my eye in broad day light. I was walking through the streets of Geneva, Switzerland and noticed what I thought was a hummingbird, zipping between flowers in a garden. This was curious to me, because I had thought there were no hummingbirds in Europe. Upon closer inspection I realized the tiny creature was in fact a moth, Macroglossum stellatarum to be precise. Despite there being no hummingbirds in Europe the common name for Macroglossum stellatarum is hummingbird hawk-moth. The moth species’ resemblance to hummingbirds is an example of convergent evolution, the independent evolution of similar features in species of different lineages as a result of having to adapt to similar environments or ecological niches. Can you think of other examples of convergent evolution? What about other types of moths or butterflies? or maybe even snakes? Learn more about convergent evolution, here

Photo and haiku: Steph Januchowski-Hartley