Animals

What’s inside Chameleon’s color changing technique?

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Some people are like chameleons, as they can blend in the environment without any efforts, but how chameleons do so? As shown in movies, there is no way these enigmatic lizards can transform their skin color to match any background. If you are curious to know more, we have brought the most useful information for you. 

The reality of chameleon changing colors

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We all have come across many videos on YouTube that show the color changing of lizards as they encounter different objects or surfaces, but those videos are completely fake!

Few people believe that if you put a chameleon on the chessboard, it can hide by taking the same color or pattern, but this is not true. It can’t change color, but it can shift its hue. They can make a few color adjustments to blend in with their surroundings. So even if they may not live up to their common portrayal in entertainment media, their color use is far more impressive than most people might ever imagine.

Blending in 

Chameleons being capable of blending in, are often found nearly impossible to see. If you ask a person who has spent time looking for them, you’ll know how tough it is to spot them. It is a way of self-defense for them. They don’t have a dangerous bite, and their skin is not at all packed with poison. They are unable to move quickly; thus, hidden is pretty much their tactic to evade predators.

Chameleons, however, do not require much of the blending in as in their natural state too. They look like a lot of live branches or leaves. A biologist at the University of Melbourne says that when there’s less light such as a tree deep inside the forest, brown to black pigment cells called melanin flood causes the skin surface of the chameleon to appear darker and thus more camouflaged. It shows that chameleons can change their skin color to match the environment but only in the case like within a narrow silver or the color wheel. 

Strength show-off

Chameleons have two opposing states – They either try to be invisible with subtle color shifts or try to get caught while changing their color. There’s a fierce show off when two males encounter each other in case of color. The weaker males often smaller and dimly colored admit defeat by turning off its display or indicates that they don’t want to fight at all.

Impressing and repelling

Now, after the show off battle, the females will react only upon the availability. If the female chameleon already has the sperm of another male in its reproductive tracks, it might turn dark and aggressive. But if the female is available, it won’t show much change in color and will remain greenish-brown.

These impressive ability to change color first likely evolved in chameleons for camouflage, but the talent now satisfies a wide range of these animals. 

What’s under the skin?

Chameleons are amazing. They have millions of microscopic salt crystals under their skin known as the photonic crystals. They have a leg up on natural hues as they can play with more than one hue. The crystals scatter the light in many ways depending on their arrangements, size, and chemistry. Scientists are spending their days working in the field of photonic crystals for a long time now to create color-changing smart skins for a range of potential applications such as camouflage. They are working on fundamental stages to establish the principles for a new approach to explore and build these crystals. 

We know that chameleon’s skin color-changing technology and the presence of microscopic photonic crystals are something researchers are keen to work on! Let’s wait and find out what they’ll come up for us.

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