When different species independently develop traits that closely resemble each other, that’s convergent evolution—it means that the same evolutionary solution boosted their chances of survival. Butterflies provide good case studies of this phenomenon because they’re impressive mimics. Some types of butterflies can produce cyanide-like toxins, making them very unpleasant prey. “A bird will eat a butterfly and learn, after one, or two, or three experiences, not to eat it anymore,” explains Concha. The bird remembers that butterfly from its wing patterns and avoids it. Other species, poisonous and harmless alike, that live in the same area have evolved lookalike wings for protection.
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