Are there any species that are near identical in outward appearance but are separate species?

When I say species I mean can’t interbreed.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't know bro. If we cannot identify them so we cannot talk about them, can we? (This definition "Species that have evolved to be near identical" is somehow an identification itself.) $\endgroup$ – AmirhoseinRiazi Oct 4 at 16:02
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    $\begingroup$ Define your criteria for being identical: outward appearance, similar ecological niches, or what? My personal favorite are the ichthyosaurs & dolphins, and hummingbirds & hawk moths, but there are many others. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Oct 4 at 16:20
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    $\begingroup$ Differing species of nematodes can be difficult to distinguish. $\endgroup$ – Polypipe Wrangler Oct 4 at 23:47

Simple answer: yes, an uncounted number of them. You need to read up on two topics: convergent evolution and mimicry.

Convergent evolution is when environmental factors cause different creatures to evolve similar appearance and lifestyle. Perhaps the classic example of this are the dolphins and ichthyosaurs. Despite being of different groups - mammals vs reptiles - they both evolved from land-dwelling creatures that adopted a marine lifestyle, and as a consequence a similiar appearance.

Mimicry is when one creature evolves to appear similar to another because that gives them some advantage. Here the classic example is the viceroy butterfly, which supposedly evolved a similar appearance to the monarch because the latter tastes bad, so that birds avoid eating it.

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