Why Do Chameleons Change Colors?
How do chameleons change colors? Why don't other animals do this?
The chameleon's ability to change its skin color has made it one of the most interesting creatures in the animal kingdom. The lizard possesses the ability to instantly camouflage itself by changing its skin color to match its surroundings. Though a puzzling feat, this feature of the
chameleon makes it a magical as well as beautiful creature.
What allows a chameleon to change colors?
Chameleons can change their color thanks to the very complex pigmentation of their skin. Their bodies contain cells called chromatophores and melanophores. Chromatophores are pigment cells that give the skin its color. Even humans have them. Chromatophores are what
cause people's skin to darken after getting lots of sun. However, a chameleon's skin is much more versatile than a human's. Chameleons change their skin color by opening and closing cells called melanophores. These cells are used to direct sunlight to specific pigments in the chameleon's skin. Melanophores allow the sun to shine on different
pigments and as a result the light is reflected back in different colors.
Why does a chameleon change it's color?
Most people believe that chameleons change colors to protect themselves from danger. But this impressive form of camouflage is only one reason that the lizards
perform their transformation. Scientists are now discovering that chameleons also change colors as a form of
expression. They may do this to communicate their moods to other animals. Though the details of the communication remain unclear, scientists believe that the colors could be a representation of whether a chameleon feels angry, threatened, or is meeting another animal on friendly terms.