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How blinking has evolved and
diversified across the species

How animals blink

Winks & Blinks

About Winks & Blinks

This website gives you a taste of how something as apparently simple as blinking has diversified as species have evolved. 


Blinking played a key role in the emergence of our ancestors from the sea and in the adoption of a terrestrial lifestyle. What is less clear is why different species moved on to blink in so many different ways.

Why do some creatures blink with their upper eyelids, others with their lower? Why do some have nictitating membranes? Why do some retract their eyeballs?

Rabbits and guinea pigs hardly blink at all. In cats, you may get a glimpse of the 'third' eyelid, or nictitating membrane. Blinking can be so brief it can only be caught on video. It is in birds that blinking really comes into its own.

On this site you will find videos and stills of blinking across a wide range of species. These are discussed from an anatomical and sometimes, an evolutionary perspective. A great deal is yet to be understood on this topic and I invite you to contribute with your ideas, observations and feedback.


Toucan eye b Rotterdam Zoo 28may11.JPG


Saltwater croc FP 2015 05 13 Eye turn -


Click on pictures

Green tree frog blink 760ms Gl Re Vert N




Komodo dragon 0ms(2).jpg


Elongate tortoise 400ms Good blink near


Figure 72.png


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