DNA microarray technology is revolutionizing many aspects of biological research, allowing the expression of many thousands of gene transcripts to be monitored simultaneously. This provides powerful tools for the genome-wide correlation of gene transcript levels with physiological responses and alterations in physiological states. To date, microarray analyses have been applied almost exclusively to a few model species for which the abundant gene sequence data permit the fabrication of whole-genome microarrays. However, many interesting physiological traits and responses are poorly expressed or absent in model species and may be better illustrated in nonmodel organisms. Comparative approaches to understanding function traditionally focus on species that by virtue of their unusual adaptations, lifestyles, and phylogeny are particularly suited to address a specific biological process or problem. In this review, we show that microarray technology can be successfully applied to these nonmodel species and used to generate new insights of comparative and evolutionary significance into animal function.