Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How Does a Chameleon Change its Color?

            We observe that chameleon in the garden. It is an amazing kind of lizard, which often changes its color to merge with its surroundings and escape notice. This ability to change color is known as camouflaging.

Chameleons change their color because of the color-containing cells

            But how does a chameleon change its color? It can do so because of the color containing cells beneath its skin.

            Although the upper layer of chameleon’s skin is transparent, the layer just beneath it has cells containing yellow, black and red pigments. These pigments are granular in structure and the granules can easily move for one point to another in its body. When these cells increases at one point turning the color of the skin into black. And when they get scattered throughout the body, different colors are produced.

            This implies that the contraction and expansion of its cells are responsible for changes in the color of its skin. But why do these cells contract or expand? There are three reasons for this-

  1. Emotions of the chameleon play a role in changing its color. When a chameleon gets enraged or frightened, it turns black in color. When it is excited, yellow spots appear on its skin making it turn yellow.
  1. Light also affects chameleon’s color. When exposed to sunlight, its cells turn black due to the heat of the sun.
  1. Heat is also a reason for it to change color. Then it is exposed to hot and dark surroundings, its color turns green but at cooler temperature in the dark its skin turns light yellow.
            The ability to change its color provides the chameleon with many advantages, like protection from enemies and catching of its prey for food. Another interesting feature of a chameleon is that it can move one eye independently of the other. One eye can be looking forward while the other looks behind. This enables it to look at two things at a time.

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